Local News

Mourners Pay Their Respects to Fallen Apex Soldier

Posted April 24, 2008 11:55 a.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2008 7:04 p.m. EDT

— More than 100 mourners lined the entrance of the Apex Funeral Home Thursday to honor a fallen soldier whose body was brought back to the Triangle.

A flag-draped coffin, escorted by police, carried the body of Lance Eakes, 25, from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

A motorcycle convoy of Patriot Guard Riders of North Carolina and the Rolling Thunder followed behind, flags waving high in the air.

“(We came) to provide an honor escort for Sgt. Eakes and his family, to pay our respects and to thank them for the gift they’ve given this nation of giving up their son,” Patriot Guard Rider Michael Haluski said.

Eakes, a 2001 graduate of Apex High School, died April 18 in an explosion in Baghdad. Earlier this week, Eakes was posthumously promoted from specialist to sergeant.

He decided to join the military after the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, his family said. He wanted to serve his country, no matter the cost.

“He was scared over there," family friend Sue Smith said. "He told his momma and daddy he was scared, but he knew he was doing what he had to do,”.

Friends described Eakes as an outgoing, mischevious joker, who loved his family, had a big heart and believed in his faith.

His funeral is scheduled for Saturday at the Olive Chapel Cemetery in Apex.