The scene Monday afternoon was in sharp contrast to what is normally expected when a procession of law enforcement cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles go by. Usually it is for a parade, with people shouting out joyfully to friends, and candy being thrown to the crowd. But Monday afternoon was a solemn procession, with sirens being sounded only to let drivers to know to move over and stop. People lined the roadways, some waving American flags, but all quiet as the procession went by. Veterans saluted, others placed their hands over their hearts. Six-year-old Logan Christian, who wants to be a Georgia State Trooper so badly that he already has his GSP uniform, stood at attention and saluted as the procession went by. It was a solemn salute to a fallen solder, PFC. Monterrious T. Daniel, who died in Kuwait on June 12, 2015 in a non-combat-related incident.
Monterrious Daniel was born in Thomaston and spent his early years here before his family moved to Griffin. His grandmother, Carolyn Daniel, still lives in Thomaston. Daniel graduated from high school in 2012, and after a year, decided to join the Army, entering on April 29, 2014. Private First Class (PFC.) Daniel was sent to Fort Carson in Colorado October 5, 2014, and deployed to Kuwait on February 16, 2015, as an ammunition specialist with the 43d Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He died at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. The Army has not yet released what happened to cause his death.
Daniel was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Combat and Special Skill Badge, and Basic Markmanship Qualification Badge.
His body was flown to the Thomaston-Upson County Airport, arriving Monday afternoon about 1 p.m. In a solemn ceremony witnessed by hundreds of people gathered at the airport, Daniel’s casket was removed from the plane. After a prayer by his family and an Army chaplain, the casket was carried by a military funeral detail to a waiting hearse. Then with an escort made up of Thomaston Police, Upson County Sheriff, and Georgia State Patrol cars, along with members of the Patriot Guard, the procession went DelRay Road to Highway 19 South, around the square in Thomaston, and back up Highway 19 North to Bentley’s and Sons Funeral Home on N. Hightower Street.
Upson County Commission Chairman Rusty Blackston thanked the community Tuesday for its outpouring of sympathy and respect for PFC. Daniel.
“I really, really, really had my faith restored in the community yesterday at the procession,” Blackston said. “The procession went down Delray Road and (Highway) 19 into town and I was amazed at the people that came out and showed their support, I really was. It thrilled my heart and I appreciate each and everyone one that did.”
PFC. Daniel’s funeral was held at noon on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at the Thomaston-Upson Civic Center. Among those speaking was his best friend, PFC. Ryan Monroe, who went through training and served with Daniel in Kuwait. Monroe eulogized his friend through his memories.
“I knew from day one we were going to share a lifelong friendship… I remember we spent three hours talking about life. That day we went from friends to best friends… You were a great guy, but beyond that a better friend… I was so excited when you joined our platoon. I had my best friend with me… You were a great guy, but a better friend. To me you will always be here with me….”
At the end of the service, Daniel’s father, Christopher Daniel, thanked everyone for their support. He urged them to take a moment to grieve, but to then go out and enjoy life as his son had enjoyed life.
Interment followed in the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Talbotton.
PFC. Monterrious Daniel is survived by his mother, Yolanda Latrese Gray of Griffin, father, Christopher Daniel of Washington, DC, two siblings, Nehemiah Means of Griffin and Jaxon Daniel of Maryland, grandparents, Napoleon (Tina) Walker, Dexter Middlebrooks, Carolyn Daniel , Derry Jones, Anthony Jones, and other relatives.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.