November 7, 2009 -- On the third anniversary of James's
final return to Gibson County, new memorials to James and to all veterans at the Saulmon Cemetery were dedicated before
a crowd of 400 citizens, veterans, and active duty personnel. The product of more than a year's work by Bennie Benjamin and
Mike Burkhardt, the memorials consist of a new lighted flagpole with black marble photo-memorial to James, a two-pillared
black marble memorial to all veterans, and two black marble bench seats. Former Congressman John Hostettler spoke. In
attendance were uniformed members of all five services and a World War II veteran who lost his leg in the first wave
ashore at Iwo Jima. With the help of local veterans' organizations and the tireless efforts of Bennie and Mike, more than
$25,000 was raised to pay for the memorials and for long-term care of the cemetery.
PHOTOS APPEAR ON THE "MEMORIALS" PAGE.
James Eric Brown, a Marine Lance Corporal from Owensville, Indiana, gave
his life for his country on November 2, 2006, while serving in Iraq. He was 20 years old.
James received a single gunshot to the back of the head while
standing sentry duty at an observation post near Camp Habbaniyah. Next to the city of Habbaniyah, the Camp lies
in the most dangerous zone for American forces, Al Anbar Province. Habbaniyah is just nine miles west
of Fallujah and lies on the road between Fallujah and Ramadi. James had been in Iraq for just four months.
James is survived by his mom, Joanne ("Jody") Van Antwerp, and also
by his brother, Dillen, and sister, Carma, who were 14 and 17 when James died. He is also survived by his
beloved fiance, Jamie Coleman, whom he was to marry upon returning from Iraq in February, 2007.
James will be missed by a host of relatives, football teammates,
boxing teammates, schoolmates, fellow soldiers and friends who loved, admired and respected him immensely.
This was a leader of men ... an iron-man football player who was
voted most valuable player by his teammates ... a man who won two Golden Gloves titles while leading his team to
state honors in the tournament ... a man who took care of his family ... a man who looked forward to his wedding
with Jamie and having his own kids ... a man who accepted Christ and was baptized ... a man who served
his country with such zeal that he was promoted during basic and led patrols just four months into his combat
This Web site is dedicated to James and his family. In it, I will share something
of James' life, his family, his sports and his military service. In it, I hope to show people who never knew James just
how high a cost young Americans, and their families and communities, pay to keep our country and our friends and allies
I have talked to many of James' Marine, Army, Navy, and Air Force buddies.
Many of his fellow Marines returned to Iraq in November 2007 with James' India Company. Since James died,
eleven of his friends from Gibson Southern have served in Iraq and some are there now, three years after James made his final
journey home. His friends and their families are again in the line of fire and we keep them and all of our servicemen
and servicewomen in our prayers. "Someone has to do this", they will all tell you. "It might as
well be me."
Soldiers are not highly paid and veterans' benefits are nothing close to what they
should be. Our soldiers, however, do not ask for that much. As one Marine recently wrote, "all we want is an occasional
'thank you' ... it means a whole lot."
So let me say it here. Thank you for all you do for us.
This site and the original site may be
found by typing the word jamesericbrown in your Google SEARCH bar.
Most photographs on this site are copyright (1986 - 2007) Joanne Van Antwerp,
Mary Hess, Charles Allen, Darin Dewig, Jeff Klump, Daniel Hunter and Chris Hays. Senior photos are republished
courtesy of Straub Photography (Evansville). Football photos are republished courtesy of Gerald D. Frohbieter,
Frohbieter Photography (Haubstadt). U.S. government or military photos included here are in the pubic domain.