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Eagles offer opportunity to pay respects

Kitty Diamond walked slowly up to the poster board where her friend’s name was listed along with 34 other soldiers’ names. As she walked, she held on tightly to the flower that she would pin next to his picture and a description of how he died. 

Jeffery Serrett’s name and the date of his death, Nov. 2, 2004, was read aloud. Diamond pinned the flower and walked away.

“He was a good guy. He was a family man,” Diamond said.

Serrett, a 43-year-old Caroline County native who lived in Spotsylvania County, was a civilian medic when he was shot and killed by an assailant on Nov. 2, 2004, at Abu Ghraib prison between Baghdad and Fallujah. He was working for Halliburton.

Diamond helped honor him during a Memorial Day ceremony Saturday organized by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Spotsylvania Aerie 4391 Ladies Auxiliary. Prayers, songs and a flag-burning ceremony were followed by the pinning of flowers next to the pictures of 35 soldiers who had died in Iraq or Afghanistan. According to the Eagles, all of the soldiers listed had connections to the local area.

Diamond, an Eagle member, had traded places with another member so that she would be the one that placed the flower next to her friend’s name.

“I’ve known him and his family for over 40 years. I’ve known him since he was itty-bitty,” said Diamond, who was joined at the ceremony by her husband and fellow Eagle Hallie Diamond.

When Serrett had grown up, Diamond had pulled some shifts with him while he was a volunteer with the Caroline Fire Department.

“He did great. He was more of the serious-type. I was his mentor,” Diamond said. “We mostly were making sure we had all of our equipment and that we were ready to go out on a call.”

Eagle member David Leake placed a flower next to the picture of his distant cousin Joshua Frazier.

Marine Sgt. Frazier, 24, of Spotsylvania was killed Feb. 6, 2007, by a sniper in Ramadi, Iraq.

Leake said he didn’t know Frazier well and had only spoken to him a couple of times while he was alive. He never knew why he went into the military, or what his hobbies were. But Leake makes sure he attends the ceremony each year to honor him.

“He was good in school. He was a good kid growing up,” Leake said. “I try to pay my respects.”

Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975