|Updated: 6/18/2009 11:51 am
||Published: 6/08/2009 4:45 pm
Private William Andrew long was laid to rest Monday with full military honors. Long died after being shot outside an army-navy recruiting center in Little Rock. Another man, Private Quinton Ezeagwula, is recovering from his injuries.
The Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery is Private Long's final resting place. For family and friends it's hard letting him go, but they say this day is more about remembering how he lived rather than how he died.
"There's no doubt about it he's my hero and he should be every American’s hero," John Bain said.
Private Long got a hero's farewell. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders, all former military, came by the dozens to pay their respects.
"Soldiers like Private Long are the line that stands between us and harm's way. They're our freedom. We have to support them, be there for them," Mark Taylor said.
Members of all the branches of the military showed their support. Governor Mike Beebe was also among the mourners. Beebe says this is a sad day for Long's family and many others all trying to deal with why this happened to a young man ready to fight for his country.
"I’m obviously sad anytime you lose a soldier. Its terrible but when you lose one just because he had a uniform on right here at home its different," Governor Mike Beebe said.
As family and friends struggle with that, they're leaning on each other and holding on to the memories of the "Andy" they all knew and loved.
"He's just a good American kid that's what I would like to celebrate," Bain said. "To be without him it's gonna be a big void there, a big void, you know he was our soldier."
Long was awarded the army commendation medal. He had just finished basic training and was getting ready to head to Korea. Family members say he was excited about the next stage of his life. Long would have turned 24 on June 26th.
Private Long and Private Quinton Ezeagwula were shot outside the army-navy recruiting center June first. Police arrested Abdulhakim Muhammad just 12 minutes after the shooting. He's charged with one count of capital murder and 16 counts of committing a terroristic act.