Sunday, May 08, 2005

Army Specialist Steven R. Givens

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Steven R. Givens, 26, of Mobile, Alabama

Spc. Givens died in Balad, Iraq, from injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 3d
Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia.

The 26-year-old soldier who was killed in Iraq by insurgents on Mother’s Day was remembered as a man who loved and helped children of the war-torn country.

Spc. Steven Ray Givens “made a difference in their lives,” Ron Pierce, the chaplain of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office and the local FBI, said in his eulogy on Saturday.

Givens’ funeral service with full military honors drew several hundred people to the Gospel Lighthouse Independent Holiness Church.

Pierce noted that Givens had volunteered to serve his second tour of duty in Iraq so he could serve his country and help the children on the streets. “He said, ‘I can do something,’ and he did do something,” Pierce said.

Givens, who spent much of his childhood in Mobile, often asked family and friends from his hometown to send him Mardi Gras beads and candy for the kids in Iraq.

As Givens’ mother, Joyce McDuffie of Mobile, wept uncontrollably, Pierce told the audience, “Memorial Day has come early to Mobile, Alabama.”

Many area residents showed their support during the funeral procession, standing with hands over heart in front of their homes or along the roadsides or bowing their heads. Mobile firefighters and law enforcement officials also lined the route, many of them saluting as the procession passed by, and firefighters hoisted a huge American flag along the route.

At the entrance to the cemetery, Givens’ flag-draped casket was loaded onto a horse-drawn caisson. Led by a bagpiper and a drummer, members of the family followed on foot as the procession moved slowly through the cemetery to the grave site.

At graveside, Army Brig. Gen. William Jacobs, the deputy commanding general at Fort Rucker, presented the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to the soldier’s mother and to his wife, Cayssia Givens, of Columbus, Ga., as both women wept.

Cayssia Givens and her husband had only been married for three days when he shipped out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.

A six-member rifle squad from Fort Rucker performed a 21-gun salute, and a bugler concluded the ceremony by playing “Taps”.

Army Specialist Steven R. Givens was killed in action on 05/08/05.

No comments: