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IN MEMORIAM

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LCpl. James Davenport

(reprinted from FlyerGroup.com, November 24, 2006)
Fallen marine remembered by friends and family
By Jerry Battiste
jerry.battiste@flyergroup.com

— BROWNSBURG — Hundreds of friends, family members, and well-wishers gathered last weekend at Bethesda Christian Church to pay their final respects to the boy they once knew well and the honorable soldier he had only recently become.

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. James R. Davenport, who graduated from Bethesda Christian High School in Brownsburg just last year, was one of three marines killed by a roadside bomb last month while on Humvee patrol in Anbar Province in Iraq. He had been assigned to the Hawaii-based 3rd Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force, and had been in Iraq only since Sept. 13.

On Saturday, friends were invited to share their memories of Davenport. They told stories about normal high school activities — the laughter, joking and revelry that every graduate eventually looks back on, remembering the times when life was simple. But they also spoke of the last time they saw Davenport, of how different he was, introspective and wise, and how he refused to let them, any of them, walk away from him without a hug goodbye.

It was clear that Davenport was not one prone to hugging, so the action left an indelible impression on each of them. And it also told them that perhaps he knew the path that lay before him.

The service was a time for quiet reflection in the church. Davenport himself had been buried a week earlier on the family homestead in South Carolina. Members of the Patriotic Guard Riders stood with U.S. flags upraised, encircling the church, as they had in South Carolina when Davenport was laid to rest.

David Stafford is a high school teacher at Bethesda Christian High School, and had Davenport as a student. During the memorial service he explained as best he could what he had come to realize about his former student; how Davenport knew the risk he was taking by joining the marines and becoming an infantryman.

Stafford said he would always miss his former student, but looked forward to the day he could personally thank him for his sacrifice.
“One day I will meet Jimmy again,,” he said. “And when I do I will shake his hand and tell him thank you. Thank you for risking your life for me and for my little girl.”