SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



To the Citizens of Ketchikan
By Eric Woytek


February 08, 2006

I have known Steve Freeman, and his older brother Ernest for almost 20 years. They lived together next door to me at Baylor University. Ernest is my fraternity brother. Butch is our hero.

I wanted to provide an account of one of the most moving experiences I have ever had;
Butch's funeral. I have never seen so many people celebrating a life and mourning it's loss. Family, friends, fellow serviceman, and pilots from all over the country were there. He was eulogized beautifully for over an hour, hymns were sung, prayers lifted, and a proclamation from the Mayor of Ketchikan read. Thank you.

When the funeral procession stretched over two miles, I was heartened as an American when I saw the hundreds of full sized flags lining the streets of Huntsville. Every car and truck for the 18 mile journey pulled to the side, people came out of stores, stopped on the
sidewalks, I saw a small boy salute, a reserve guard unit stood at attention, they collectively honored him. This would have made Butch smile that big infectious smile. I was proud, and I cried.

At the gravesite, we witnessed a fly-by, 21 gun salute, and the presentation of the flag to
Steve's wife. We had a wake that lasted into the early morning where we all wore t-shirts with his picture, told funny stories, watched video clips, toasted him, and consoled each other.

I have a favor to ask. For his children, we are all writing letters to let them know who their Dad was as they get older, and want to know. It would mean so much if anyone from Ketchikan could add anything that they feel to share. You have already honored Butch greatly, and I welcome any direct replies that I will get to the Freeman family.

Thank you in advance. Ketchikan seems like another great American town like Huntsville.

Eric Woytek
E-mail: ericwoytek[at]
Austin, TX - USA

About: Eric Woytek has been a friend of the Freemans for almost 20 years.



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Ketchikan, Alaska