MARIA,SIQUIJOR–Siquijodnons turned out in droves here last Friday to see American honor guards accord military honors to slain Sgt. Zainah Caye Creamer, a Texarcana Arkansas native who was killed in action in Kandahar, Afghanistan last January 12.
The Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in Maria overflowed with family, friends, and mostly curious onlookers, who skipped lunch to witness the first-ever funeral of its kind in the island-Province.
Creamer’s mother, Carlyn Daug-Brown, a Filipino-American, had returned here to Maria, Siquijor with her second husband after retiring in the United States.
Creamer, 28, a member of the military police and a trained military dog handler, had been to Siquijor in October last year–her first and only visit–just before she and her military dog Jofa, left for Afghanistan to help in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The United States sent a platoon of honor guards from the US Forces Korea led by Maj. Gen. John MacDonald, USFK assistant chief of staff, and US Embassy Charge D’ Affaires Leslie Bassett, representing US President Barak Obama.
People lined up the streets as the funeral procession, led by Maj. Gen. MacDonald and Basset, and followed by the hearse and the US Army honor guards, walked under the hot noonday sun from the Brown home to church, about a mile away.
Sgt. Creamer’s remains were met at the church by Boy and Girl Scouts waving Filipino and American flags.
After a concelebrated necrological mass, Creamer was given posthumous awards — the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, and the NATO Meritorious Service Medal.
The municipality of Maria and the province of Siquijor also presented Resolutions of Condolence, and eulogies were given by Rep. Orlando Fua Sr., Gov. Orlando Fua Jr.
“That the United States government brought home the remains of Sgt. Creamer for burial in Siquijor is a signal honor for the Province,” Governor Fua said.
From the church, everyone walked back to the Maria Municipal Cemetery, right across the Brown home, for the solemn and dignified military rites, where Maj. Gen. MacDonald each gave flags to Zainah’s mother and aunt, Lutchie Daug Castleman, with whom Zainah lived while in the U.S.
Castleman accompanied the remains of Sgt. Creamer back to Siquijor from Fort Belvoir in Virginia, USA., where she served with the 212th Military Police Detachment.
Albert Macfarland, director for mortuary services of the US Forces Korea, did the preparations for transporting of Creamer’s remains back to Siquijor, and helped the family make the funeral arrangements.