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Poplarville, county saddened by loss

World problems, so often over-looked because they happen “somewhere else,” became real again to Poplarville and Pearl River County with the loss of Sgt. Lerando Brown on Feb. 15 in Balad, Iraq. Sgt. Brown was a member of the 288th Sapper Company based in Houston, Miss., and was on his first tour of duty.

Brown is the second Pearl River County soldier to be lost while on deployment in the Iraq conflict. His death placed the number of killed close to the 4,000 mark for the five years since the start of hostilities with the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

It is not our purpose here to debate the pros and cons of the strife or to question matters of policy. This is neither the time nor the place because people are hurting from the pain of loss and such weighty issues should be put aside for the moment.

Put aside, yes — but not forgotten. Not forgotten because Sgt. Brown and the other fallen soldiers he joins are a sacred group of individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. As we quoted Sgt. Brown’s father-in-law, the Rev. Jimmy Richardson, last week, “All of the fallen soldiers are heroes to put their lives on the line for their country.”

Sgt. Brown’s body will return to Mississippi on Tuesday with arrival in Gulfport and from there to the Owens-Ramsey Funeral Home in Wiggins. On Wednesday, there will be a time of visitation from 10 a.m. until 12 noon at the Harts Chapel Baptist Church near Derby, Miss., followed by formal services to remember and honor Sgt. Brown.

For residents not able to attend the church services but desiring to honor Sgt. Brown, the funeral procession will travel from the Harts Chapel Church near Derby and move north on Hwy. 11 to Poplarville at approximately 2 p.m. The procession will then turn east on Hwy. 26 to Wiggins. From there it will follow Mississippi Hwy. 49 south toward its final stop at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

We join with friends and residents of the area in extending our deepest sympathies and offers of support to his wife and children and his entire family at this sad time.

May God bless you.