|Friday, 28-Oct-2005 00:00
Cpl Benny "Gray" Cockerham
A father's tribute to fallen son
Gray is my favorite color
Hickory Daily Record
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
The following was written by Ben Cockerham, father of fallen Marine Benny Gray Cockerham III. Gray died Friday in Iraq.
Gray is my favorite color
Every morning Just before the rising of the sun the world is Gray. Expectant and hopeful for opportunities; anticipation embodied. Half sunshine half rain, Poised to run either direction, the shape of things are formed with a shift of the wind.
The Clouds and Sun battle for the dominance of bright sky and dark cloud. On occasion, when the conditions are just right. Perfect balance is achieved and Gray is born.
It happened once on June 28, 1984 on a Marine Corps Base in California. The Navy nurse said, “Why would anyone name a child like this Gray. You should call him Sunshine.” She was not present at the birth in the early morning. She was not present during the struggle of labor in the predawn. She was unaware that Gray is Sunshine and Cloud, the personification of this child.
Gray is the blur of perpetual motion, on to the next as the first is done. With fingers spread wide in the relaxed sleep of Angels, Gray is the color of Down, soft and peaceful readying for the next race. Always in a hurry, nothing left behind, no regrets.
Gray is the color of Ocean, reflected in the wonder of a child’s eyes, the color of a Thunderstorm, adolescence in all its rage and glory. Gray is the clear gleam of Steel reflected from the determination and pride of a Marine’s face. Gray is Smoke, rising form from a chimney guiding you home promising comfort.
On Oct. 21, 2005 in a place called Zaidon, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, protecting those less able, Cpl. Benny “GRAY” Cockerham III, USMC, became dark to Gray no more.
Gray is my favorite color and if you get a chance in the predawn light, as you wait with anticipation the coming day, look anew at Gray. When you do I hope this helps you remember to: Live life with wonder, ready to change with the shift of the wind. When you must fight, do so with all the fury you possess. Be in constant motion and leave no regrets. Truly relax when time permits for the next race must be run. Be determined in all you do because this determines your success. Appreciate the home fires; family should come before all things. Love unconditionally and sacrifice as if you were Gray.
Catawba Marine killed in Iraq loved soccer, movies
The Associated Press
A Marine corporal killed Friday in Iraq was remembered as a good friend who loved soccer, movies, and his family.
Benny Gray Cockerham III, 21, was in Iraq on his second tour of duty when he was killed, his father said in a letter.
Cockerham is the first Catawba County soldier to die in the Iraq conflict, according to the Hickory Daily Record.
His unit and where he was based were not available Tuesday.
Cockerham enlisted in the Marines shortly after graduating from St. Stephen's High School in 2002, the newspaper reported. He played soccer on the school team all four years in high school.
"He was a great person to be around," said Adam Bowman, 18, a senior at the school. "He loved his family a lot."
Members of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church posted a message on its sign asking people to pray for the Cockerham family.
Cockerham is survived by his wife, Amanda Johnson Cockerham; his parents, Ben and Jill Cockerham; and a younger brother, Adam.
He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Other funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.