Family of fallen soldier mourns as his body returns home
November 17, 2016 at 6:06 PM EST - Updated August 13 at 8:35 PM
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC)
It was a somber and emotional moment Thursday morning as a soldier's body was returned to his family in Savannah.
It wasn't the way his mother or anyone else in the Murray family expected the young Patriot to come home. Twenty-three-year-old Ronald Murray, Jr. was a young man with a passion for the military. He graduated from Windsor Forest High School in 2009. He was brought to his family in a hearse by members of the U.S. Army, his casket draped with the American Flag.
"He begged me before he graduated high school if he could join, and I told him to try college first. He went to Darton in Albany, GA for fo a year. He was on the wrestling team," said Sonia Clark, Ronald's mother.
His mother says college wasn't for him, and he followed in his parents' military footsteps, as he wanted, enlisting in the U.S. Army.
"He really enjoyed being a field artillery fighter - support - a fister. Matter of fact, his Instagram is 'Lord of the Fist.' He really did enjoy being in the military," his mother said.
"It touches your heart. I had a daughter who served three years in the Army also, but this is somebody's child. This could have been me, 30 years ago...coming home in a casket instead of on a plane," said Retired Sgt. Harold Piet, Patriot Guard Riders.
Retired Sgt. Harold Piet and the Patriot Guard Riders made sure Specialist Murray's body made a problem-free trip to the funeral home, and they paid their respects, patriot to patriot, for his service to our country.
"They do it because they want to serve and they have compassion for the family."
A family who still struggles with a loved one's death. It wasn't during battle, instead, an accident in Kuwait that took Ronald Murray's young life.
"To find out it was an accident. It is hard to make sense of. What I want everyone to know is we are all very proud of my son. His parents, his grandparents, his siblings. We are all very proud of him," Sonia said.
Judging by the outpouring of support on social media and in the community, they are not alone in that.
Visitation hours will be held Friday night from noon until 6 p.m. at Sylvania Funeral Home in Savannah. The funeral will be Saturday at 10 a.m., at Living Hope Community Fellowship, in Garden City. The burial will be held at Cypress Creek Cemetery in Pineland, SC, at 2 p.m.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to the Wounded Warriors Project in Memory of SPC Ronald Murray, Jr, or to the SPC Ronald L. Murray, Jr. JOMC Scholarship at N.C. A&T.