Died Dec. 14 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany of wounds sustained from a suicide, vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Fallujah, Iraq, on Dec. 12.
|By a family member:
HAVE YOU EVER MET A HERO?
My family and I just returned from Batesville, MS. (JBRacing's home town) where we laid to rest a dear relative named Brandon Presley. Brandon was 21 years old and a U.S. Marine. He was injured on December 12, 2005 while in a fire fight with insurgents when a suicide bomber rammed the humvee that Brandon was occupying and detonated the bomb. Brandon died on December 14, 2005. It makes no difference what one's position may be on the war in Iraq, the men and women that are laying their lives on the line are TRUE HEROES.
Having witnessed the events of the wake and memorial service I can only say that it was nothing short of spectacular. Indeed, what I just experienced will stay with me for the rest of my life. The church capacity was approx. 900. On the night of the wake there was a nonstop procession of people wanting to express their condolences that extended from the front of the church, down the isle and out the back which lasted from 4pm until at least 830pm. The next day at the memorial service the church was filled to capacity. Believe me when I tell you there was not a dry eye in the whole church and even before the services began.....it was really an experience of a life time. There were two huge fire ladder trucks parked across the parking lot from one another with the ladders fully extended and draped between them was a huge American flag. As the procession made it's way to the church from the funeral home there were firefighters, local police, state police, sheriffs, active and retired military, lining the street and all standing at attention and saluting as the procession passed by. It was really amazing to witness. Brandon's commander from Camp LeJeune(I think that is how it is spelled) in North Carolina was in attendance as were many other marines. He was one of the speakers at the service as was a military chaplain. Needless to say, the service was riveting. To hear these guys makes it crystal clear how the marines get motivated and believe me when I tell you they were as sincere as the day is long. Made me realize just how proud I was to not only be an American but more importantly a relative of Brandon's. After the memorial service and as the procession made its' way to the burial site the roads were lined with men and women, young and old, some holding babies and other small children, business owners and employees, average citizens, and motorists that had stopped on the road, most of whom were holding either small American flags or large ones and holding their hands over their hearts. It was something that you only expect to see on television. I am still in shock from the experience and am truly amazed at the bond of the brotherhood that apparently exist between members of the armed forces.
I have never had the privilege of saying that I ever met a hero much less that I knew one personally. I am extraordinarily proud to say that I do now. Brandon died not only in the service of his country but died trying to make a difference and trying to make his family proud. Brandon, you are a HERO. You will definitely be missed....but never will you be forgotten.