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Army Sgt. Alexis Bonet prays with Kilani Brown as she places a wreath on the casket of her father, Army Staff Sgt. Harrison Brown of Prichard.
AP photo by Mike Kittrell
Army Sgt. Alexis Bonet prays with Kilani Brown as she places a wreath on the casket of her father, Army Staff Sgt. Harrison Brown of Prichard.

State soldier killed in Iraq eulogized as hero, role model

PRICHARD (AP) — A Ft. Benning, Ga.-based soldier killed in Iraq was eulogized Friday at his funeral as a "gentle giant" hero and a role model growing up in his hometown of Prichard.

More than 1,000 mourners filled the Nazaree Full Gospel Church in Mobile to bid farewell to Army Staff Sgt. Harrison "Duck" Brown, 31, who was killed on Easter Sunday in a bomb blast that hit his Humvee. Brown, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, was on his third tour of duty in Iraq.

"This young man is a hero. He died as a hero and from what we've heard today, he lived as a hero," said the Rev. Dr. Ralph Huling, pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., where Brown, his wife, Delisha, and three daughters.

— 9, 12 and 14 — worshipped.

A small musical ensemble played "When the Saints Go Marching In" as the 1,200-seat church in Mobile filled. A soloist sang "Amazing Grace." The service swelled into a hand-clapping celebration of Brown's life.

Among those exchanging upbeat memories of Brown before his flag-draped coffin was his uncle, Hezekiah Brown of Elizabeth City, N.C., who described his nephew as a "gentle giant who never wanted to hurt anybody."

Others remembered how Brown influenced their lives with his admirable behavior.

Blount High School coach Ben Harris recalled Brown as a wide receiver on his team from 1991 until his graduation in 1994.

"He was a fine person all around," Harris said.

Alvin Daniels, a former Blount classmate, said it's a sad time, but Brown liked being in the Army.

"He was a good fellow, real quiet, laid back," Daniels said.

Brown also played on the school's baseball and basketball teams before enrolling at Tuskegee University, where he played football for one year on a scholarship.

Brown left Tuskegee after his freshman year and enlisted in the Army to support his growing family.

Brig. Gen. William Forrester of Fort Rucker, represented the Army at the service, with an honor guard also from Rucker. Brown was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart on Friday.

Scores of veterans on motorcycles from the Patriot Guard escorted the funeral procession with police.

Prichard officials announced plans to name a street for Brown in his memory. Resolutions honoring Brown from the Alabama Legislature and the city of Mobile also were delivered to Brown's family.

Burial was in the National Cemetery in Mobile.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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