Wednesday, April 9, 2003


Former Hawaii soldier
honored at service

Associated Press

HIGHLAND, N.Y. >> About 1,000 people turned out last night to mourn, cheer and recall Sgt. Eugene Williams at a three-hour memorial service.

"Life is not what you do for yourself. It's for the people you touch; it's what you do for others," 19-year-old Eric Williams said, adding that was what made his older brother special.

Also a soldier, Eric had just returned from Iraq.

Eugene, 24, in the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, was killed March 29 by a suicide bomber near Najaf, Iraq.

His wife, Brandy, lives in Waipahu with their 3-year-old daughter, Mya. She is expecting the couple's second child in June.

The 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks was Eugene's first assignment after basic training. He left the Army in January 2001 and took his family to Florida. But his wife said he missed the military and became a member of the Florida Army National Guard. He rejoined the active Army in June and was assigned to the 3rd Division.

Last night's service, organized by the American Legion post, was held at Highland High School, where Williams graduated in 1996, 70 miles north of New York City.

Lt. Gen. William Lennox Jr., superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, attended.

Although Eugene Williams was a high school athlete, he did not play in the Highland Little League that his parents, Betty Jean and Ulyses "Cee" Williams, helped as longtime volunteers.

Tom Miller, league president, said the couple "was always there for us," and hundreds of donations had been made to support the family's trip to Hawaii for Eugene's burial.

Ulyses and Betty Jean Williams stood and waved thanks, and the crowd burst into a standing ovation.

The service included a patriotic song co-written by Eugene and his older brother Gerry, performed by friends, and a song by Eric that he wrote when he learned of his brother's death.

Hawaii military links and information

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