Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Brookhaven Solider Praised for Service By Bill Baldowski
South Fulton Neighbor News Editor
Service to others was not just a cliché to Tyler Brown - it was his passion, and the foundation of his zest for life.
In his senior quote in the Woodward Academy yearbook in 1996, he used Albert Einstein's famous words, "The only life worth living is the one in the service of others."
The 26-year-old Army lieutenant, who was an Airborne Ranger attached to the 9th Infantry, not only lived these words but it was in service to others that the Brookhaven resident died in the line of duty Sept. 14 in a firefight near Ar Ramadi, Iraq.
Brown was deployed to the Middle East with his unit Aug. 1 and, after three weeks of training in Kuwait, moved on to Iraq. He was killed within two weeks of his arrival in the war-torn country as he led his 22-man platoon into combat.
After his funeral service at the Cathedral of St. Phillip in Atlanta Sept. 22, which drew more than 1,800 mourners, Brown was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery Sept. 28 with full military honors. The burial service was attended by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee and U.S. legislators Saxby Chambliss, Paul Gingrey, Johnny Isakson and a host of other dignitaries.
Jeremy Lewis, who was in Brown's graduating class and one of his closest friends, described Tyler in Woodward's memorial to its fallen graduate during the school's Founder's Day ceremony Oct. 1.
"Service was the way Tyler paid tribute to us - his friends, his family, his country and Woodward Academy, and service is the way we can pay tribute to Tyler," he said.
According to his older brother, Brent, Tyler believed the military was created to serve and protect, "and it provided him that opportunity to serve his country and protect people," he said.
Tyler, who wore the prestigious Combat Infantrymen Badge, had plans on joining the Army's elite Old Guard in Washington, D.C., upon his return from the Middle East. He was awarded, posthumorously, the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
The Brown family is working closely with Woodward officials and Tyler's classmates to honor Brown, "in a way that will continue to give back to Woodward for many years," Brent said.
Tisa McMackin, Woodward's spokesperson, said the school is planning a permanent memorial for Tyler on the school campus, which will be dedicated Memorial Day 2005.
"The last time Tyler talked to our mom was just five days prior to his death," Brent said. "He was so interested in what our family was doing."
Tyler, who rode to his final resting place on the same caisson that carried Ronald Reagan, had a deep faith, "and was not afraid of life," his brother said.
"That is the type person Tyler was," Brent said. "He was most happy when others around him were happy and that is how he would want to be remembered."
Brent said his family is holding up well, "and we are going on with our lives as Tyler would want us to," he said.
For more information on honoring Brown, call Ms. McMackin at (404) 765-4037.