|Birth: ||Feb. 27, 1970|
|Death: ||Jan. 10, 2005|
OBERLIN, La. — The last of eight Louisiana National Guardsmen killed last week by roadside bombs in Iraq was laid to rest Tuesday.Staff Sgt. Bill Manuel died Jan. 10 when his Bradley fighting vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device. Staff Sgt. Robert Sweeney III, 22, of Pineville, was also killed in the blast. Sweeney was buried Monday and his father, Robert II, and other family members attended Manuel’s funeral.Retired Sgt. Nora “Pop” Popillion, a friend and fellow National Guardsman of the fallen soldier, said Tuesday that Manuel would tell those sitting in the pews during his funeral service, “Bury me. Honor me, but live ... I lived a good life.”More than 500 people crowded into St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, where Manuel was an altar boy in his youth. The crowd overflowed into the church hall next door where the family had arranged for a TV station to video the funeral and telecast it on monitors inside.As he gave the eulogy for his friend, Popillion recalled how the two of them would sit on the second story of Fort Polk’s tower after a day of training. Manuel called it the back porch. They would listen to zydeco music and smoke cigars.“We’d look out at the horizon,” Popillion said. “I’d say, ’I’ll be glad when this is over,’ and Bill would say, ‘Isn’t this great?’ I’d say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.”’The Rev. Michael Barras, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, told mourners at the funeral Mass that he was struck by a collage of snapshots of Manuel’s life and family displayed at the funeral home.“(This is) a person whose life was well-lived, well-loved and well-cared for,” Barras said.Manuel, 34, had been in the National Guard for 18 years and worked as a supervisor as a casino in Kinder. He was married, but the couple had no children.At the cemetery where Manuel was buried, Louisiana National Guard honor guard soldiers folded three flags, one at a time, over his coffin. Each time, the flag was passed to Maj. Gen. Bennett Landreneau, who made the solemn walk first to Manuel’s wife, Nicole, then to his mother, Shirley Manuel and finally to his father, Kermit Manuel.Manuel’s funeral was the eighth in the past five days for Louisiana Guardsmen killed in Iraq. On Jan. 6, six guardsmen from southeastern Louisiana and the same company based out of Houma were killed in a similar attack.
Created by: Cindy
Record added: Jan 21, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10354618