Family, friends say goodbye to former Marine
Updated On: Jul 07 2014 07:50:33 PM EDT
Family and friends said their final goodbyes Monday to a defense contractor and former Marine who died last month in Basra, Iraq, killed by the accidental discharge of a machine gun.
The body of 44-year-old Moncie Lamar Johns arrived in Jacksonville last week and his family took him back to Georgia to be buried at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
Johns' father, Bill Johns, said his son was a good person who loved his country, his kids and riding his motorcycle. He said his son may not physically be here any longer, but his memory lives on.
Riding in the motorcade Monday to honor Moncie wasn't easy for his father.
"I got up here the night before last and I was walking around in our living room, and all of a sudden I heard him. He said, 'Dad,'" Bill Johns said. "Some people say, 'Well, you're just wanting to hear,' and I do, but I heard him and I could hear that little light laugh he had."
Moncie Johns was killed in Iraq three weeks ago. His father said he was supposed to be home in time for the Fourth of July.
"I love him very much," Bill Johns said. "He's an awesome part of my life that will never be forgotten."
A large American Flag was laid gently over Moncie Johns' casket as friends and family grieved. Pictures of the father of two sat close by, a reminder of the man who loved his country, his children and his motorcycle clan, the leathernecks.
"At one time he had a goatee, and he made a joke with me, and he said, 'Dad, I just love to get on the bike and let the wind blow through my hair,'" Bill Johns said. "He didn't have much any up here, just down here. And it really stuck with me. I prayed here the other night when I heard him call my name. I said, 'God, don't ever let me walk a day without remembering him. Because he's my son.'"
Bill Johns said his son left behind two daughters -- Madison and Hailey. He said Hailey recently graduated high school and is getting ready for college. He said he hopes to see his son once again in heaven.
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