Honoring a Fallen Hero
CHIEFLAND - He gave his life in Afghanistan, but he will always belong to North Central Florida.
Gainesville native, Clarence Williams III was killed in Afghanistan .
Wednesday, people lined the roads to pay their respects as his honor escort drove from Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa up to Chiefland.
"I don't care if I know him or not. He is an American soldier," said Bridget Dishman of Trenton.
Dishman waved the American flag, as a way to honor a fallen soldier from Brooksville. She said she was also thinking of her own son in Afghanistan.
In March 2009, Clarence Williams III enlisted in the army and became a military police officer.
A week ago Monday, the 23-year-old and five of his fellow soldiers killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
"If it wasn't for our soldiers, I couldn't do this today that's why we have our freedom," said Bruce Borders.
Along Highway 19, people were decked out in red, white and blue. A child showed his patriotism by dressing up as a soldier.
Many people among the crowd were veterans or have a loved one in the military.
"A lot of my family are veterans and the veterans served our country and put their life on the line," said Derek Logan.
One woman told us she was there because she knows the family, but never got the chance to meet Williams.
"I am here supporting the family. It's tragedy to me," said Mary Blake.
Williams is remembered as easy going, compassionate and full of laughter. A man who stood up and fought for our country, like so many others still there.
"It's a worry everyday," Dishman said. "You wake up sometimes praying and prayers are what sometimes get you through it constantly. Having faith, but knowing that something does happen and could happen."
Williams' wake will be held on Thursday in Brooksville at 6 p.m.
The funeral will be noon Saturday at the Living Waters Worship Center in Ocala.
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