MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Army Corporal Chris Mason, who was killed November 28th in a roadside bomb blast in Iraq, was eulogized as a patriot as hundreds filled a west Mobile church where he recently spoke of his devotion to his mission.
Mason, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was 32.
The soldier's brother, 2nd Lieutenant Garland Mason the Third, who is studying at a theological seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, to become an Army chaplain, also spoke.
Before the Army, Mason was a rodeo clown. His brother said he also taught commercial drivers license classes at Bishop State Community College.
At the service, Brigadier General Joseph Votel, the assistant district commander with the 82nd Airborne, presented Mason's Bronze Star and Purple Heart to his parents.
He was also honored posthumously with the Alabama Distinguished
Among the dignitaries present were Senator Jeff Sessions and Congressman Jo Bonner, both of Mobile.
Along the route to the cemetery, dozens of people stood by the side of the road with hands over hearts, while some held American flags to show their respect.
The city named a bridge on the Bel Air Boulevard for Mason.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)