VICTORIA, Ala. (AP) -- Country music ballads filled the Victoria Baptist Church Sunday as a tribute to an Alabama soldier
who "grew up in the south, and he was proud to let people know it."
About 500 mourners gathered on a hot, humid day for funeral services for Elba native and U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Jordan.
Jordan, 24, was Alabama's tenth casualty in Iraq. He died July 20 when his infantry patrol was ambushed in a rocket-propelled
grenade attack in a village in Tallifar.
"Everywhere Jason went -- when people asked him where he was from -- he never just said he was from the south; he said
'I am from Dixie,' because he was so proud of his hometown, and so proud of being raised here," the Rev. Mack King said while
delivering Jordan's eulogy.
Mourners blotted sweat, tears and rain drops as they made the trek up county road 210 toward Jordan's grave site.
"I watched Jason grow up, and I watched him help his grandparents with their cattle farm next door," Frank Chirico, a close
family friend and a neighbor of Jordan's maternal grandparents, told The Dothan Eagle after the funeral. "And he was just
a good, hardworking, Christian boy who was raised right."
Jordan grew up in Elba with his parents William D. "Danny" and Sandra Jordan, brother Christopher Jordan and grandparents.
After attending Elba High School, where he was an honor student and member of the Beta Club and the Math Club, Jordan joined
"Jason strongly believed in what he was doing, by serving in the armed forces to keep America safe and strong," the Jordan
family said in a statement read by Chirico during the ceremony. "He was helping to bring freedom and democracy to an oppressed
people and put an end to a dictatorship that threatened the peace and stability of the world."
During his five years in the military, Jordan received numerous awards and decorations, including the Army Commendation
Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal and finally, the Bronze Star and
"There is a lot of retired military in this community, and we are all very patriotic," Chirico said, fighting back tears
after Jordan's graveside service. "But we all feel that this is a debt that can never be repaid."