Coweta residents plan salute to slain Marine

Wednesday, August 10th 2005, 10:07 am
By: News On 6

An entire town prepares to say good-bye to one of its own. Coweta Marine Sergeant James Graham - killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber - will be laid to rest this Saturday. But before the funeral begins, residents have a special tribute planned to honor their fallen hero.

The News on 6’s Heather Lewin says like most places its size, Coweta is a close knit community. And when tragedy hits this small town, they take it as a family.

Terry Adair, Memorial Organizer: “This is a time to show honor and respect and it should be a quiet, solemn time to pay tribute to this fallen soldier."

Before Marine Sergeant James Graham is laid to rest, residents plan to line these streets, flags in hand as Graham's family passes by.

Terry Adair, Memorial Organizer: "We all have a strong feeling about what's going on over there, and Sergeant Graham's not the only one who's lost his life, and this is a way maybe for us, this town, to show we support our troops."

Family friends are already showing support, decorating Graham's parents’ home to honor him.

I spoke with Sergeant Graham's family months ago shortly after he deployed. Full of pride in their Marine, they - like so many military families - feared the worst, but were confident he would come home. Now in their grief, friends and neighbors don't want them to stand alone.

Coweta has a long history of honoring its fallen heroes. After losing more soldiers per capita in Vietnam than any other American town, residents put up a memorial so their names will never be forgotten.

Organizers want Coweta residents to observe a solemn hour between 9AM and 10AM on Saturday. They're asking those who line the streets to bring a flag and stand hands over hearts in silence.