Marine Funeral

by Tashun Chism

As American flags waved and funeral goers filled the Crockett Civic Center, Marine Corporal Jacob Neal's family and friends reflected on happier times.

"He was just really level-headed and he was the good one out of the bunch. And I hated that he was the one that had to go. He was so young but I love him. And I'm proud of him. I'm just proud of him," said Nicole Evans, Jacob's sister.

"Jacob was a guy that always wanted to be on time. He wanted to try his best and try to succeed for himself. He didn't ask for any help. He was always for himself. Always tried to help others and always tried to do the best for everybody else just like for himself," said Jacob's childhood friend Juan Nayola.

The 23-year-old marine was killed a week ago while fighting in Iraq. Family members say knowing he died serving his country makes things just a little easier to cope with.

"He died for a good cause, yes he did. He fought for us. That's what he went over there for: our freedom. He fought for us and I'm real proud of him. I'm happy for him," Perry Neal, Jacob's father said.

Neal's family says they've been getting plenty of support from the community. And while Neal may be gone, those who knew him say his memory and sacrifice will continue to live on in their hearts.

"I'll miss Jacob. I won't get to see him again but hopefully one day we see each other up there in heaven. I miss you, Jacob. You were like a brother to me and I really miss you a lot," Noyola said.