Donalsonville- A south Georgia community lays to rest one of their own killed while serving in Iraq. Monday, family members said their final goodbyes to Navy Seaman Apprentice Zachary Alday. It's another tragedy for a family that was grief stricken more than three decades ago.
More than 1,500 Donalsonville community members came to pay their respects to 22 year old Zachary Alday. A full church caused many to wait outside. Alday was a Navy Seaman Apprentice assigned to the Marines in Iraq, but today he was remembers as much more.
"He was zealous about life, loved to hunt, fish, and play sports, football, and baseball, he loved playing the game," said Rev. Jeff Buchanan, Former Pastor Spring Creek Baptist Church.
Alday was killed June ninth when his vehicle struck a mine in Anbar Province. Monday, his casket was carried by the comrades he served with.
"When a corpsman or when a Marine is killed, a Marine accompanies his remains all the way to the burial point, it's a very special relationship between the Navy and the Marine Corps," said Rear Admiral Lewis Libby.
His duty in Iraq prevented an upcoming promotion to the rank of hospitalman. He was given the honor posthumously, along with a Purple Heart.
"The Purple Heart was given to him as a result of his injuries he received," said Rear Admiral Lewis Libby.
It's been hard for this family, no strangers to tragedy. Zach Alday was the great grandson of Ned Alday. He now lies with those family members who were murdered in 1973 by the Carl Isaacs gang.
"They certainly have a long row to hoe, they've got a lot of hurt, grief, and it's going to take them a long time to get over," said Buchanan.
Difficult Monday, as they said goodbye to a son, a father, and a hero.
Alday was a member of the First Battalion, 7th Marines, 7th Regiment Combat Team of the First Marine Expeditionary Force and was assigned to the Marines to provide medical assistance to troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom.