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Old 06-28-2004, 08:20 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Brooklyn street renamed for Marine; neighbors and family remember "Chill Will"

Brooklyn street renamed for Marine; neighbors and family remember "Chill Will"
Submitted by: New York City Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 2004625151242
Story by Cpl. Beth Zimmerman

NEW YORK(June 25, 2004) -- A poem dedicated to the memory of a young man dressed in Dress Blues and preserved on a cloth scroll hung from the ledge of a modest brick house in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant. The sun shone through the trees and onto the shoulders of a small crowd gathered on a Saturday afternoon on Pilling Street. Smiles mixed with tears as family and neighbors remembered one of their own.

"I can feel him with us," said Charles Holder. He was talking about his brother, who would have turned 25 years old this year.

Friends and family of Lance Cpl. William White remembered him during a ceremony June 19, where they renamed the block of Pilling Street he grew up on as "Marine Lance Corporal William Wayne White Street." White died while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom March 29, 2003.

"Future young people and families will see his sign, and they will know he gave his life so you and I could live here every day," Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said during the ceremony. "If it wasn't for people like your son," he told Martha Holder, "Our firefighters and policemen couldn't do what they do here every day."

Charles said his brother wouldn't have made a big deal about paying the ultimate sacrifice. "We always used to call him Chill Will," said Charles. "He never used to be wild or crazy, or even make a big deal about stuff," said the 20-year-old. "Even when girls would go crazy over him...he was just like... 'forget about it'."

During the ceremony, Charles described to his neighbors how his brother loved being a Marine. "William would come home and out of nowhere, he'd just put his shorts on, and run around the block," he said. "I was always askin' him, 'what are you doing, Will?' But, I respect him for joining the Marine Corps."

His younger brother Bryan Holder felt the same way. "I wanted to be just like him," said 17-year-old Bryan. "I love him, and I miss him."

White's neighbors remembered the Marine who died last year as a graduate of Bushwick High School, a member of their church choir, and as a genuinely nice guy.

"He used to cut hair at a barbershop around the corner," said Charles. "One day it was colder than usual outside, and there was a girl standing outside the barbershop shivering," he said. "Will didn't even know her, but he went out and put a scarf around her," he said. "He was always like that."

Sergeant Elliot Jackson carried the Marine Corps flag in the color guard that took part in the ceremony. He grew up just a couple blocks away.

"I'm proud to be a part of this ceremony," said Jackson, from Alpha Company, 6th Communication Battalion, in Amityville. "It's sad that he died, but I'm glad I could take part in honoring another Marine."

White's mother, Martha Holder, said she was honored to have so much support from the Marine Corps. She also knows there are other family members grieving. "While we're here, honoring the memory of my son, let's not forget the other soldiers and Marines who have died."

The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the new street sign, located at the corner of Bushwick Avenue and Pilling Street. Friends and family squeezed onto the sidewalk around the pole as two members of the New York City Police Department Pipes and Drums Band played "Amazing Grace" on their bagpipes. Then, some cried quietly-others smiled-as "The Marines' Hymn" echoed down the block.

From now on, residents and visitors to Lance Cpl. William J. White Street can do just as the poem written in his memory says.

"Fill not your hearts with pain and sorrow, but remember me in every tomorrow."

A cloth scroll hangs from Martha Holder?s house in Brooklyn with a poem written in memory of her son, Lance Cpl. William White. White died during Operation Iraqi Freedom March 29, 2003. Photo by: Cpl. Beth Zimmerman

SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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