A community bonds in mourning Marine
About 3,000 people lined Route 301 and the grounds of the New Life Wesleyan Church in La Plata on Monday to honor Lance Cpl. Terry E. Honeycutt Jr. and his service as a Marine, Charles County officials said.
Firefighters, truck drivers and others waved American flags and held their hands to their hearts in memory of Honeycutt, 19, of Waldorf. He died Oct. 27 after being injured by a roadside bomb Oct. 21 during a combat operation in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
He was buried Monday in Arlington National Cemetery, where mourners stood and watched as about 100 members of the Patriot Guard escorted the mile-long procession through the gates after the service in La Plata.
"The whole thing has really amazed me," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Kevin Rice, 19, who was been best friends with Honeycutt since they were 8. "It seems like our whole town has really come together and honored his service and given him respect."
The two were leaders of North Point High School's Air Force JROTC and its drill team. The school will begin hosting a drill team competition in Honeycutt's honor next year.
"A lot of people look at us from the outside and see us as the serious, military-disciplined guys. When we were together hanging out at each other's houses . . . a whole other side comes out, and we can get really crazy," Rice said.
Whether they were tossing a football, playing video games or trying to teach drill moves to friends, Honeycutt was going to find a way to have fun, he said.
"You could sit him in a room with nothing in it, and he would find a way to have fun," Rice said. "He was that kind of guy."
Christine Honeycutt laughed during an interview when she recalled how, as children, Rice and her son would hike in the woods, camp out, eat bugs and practice military maneuvers. The two had planned from an early age to enlist in the Marines together, but Rice chose the Air Force.
Honeycutt, who was a member of North Point's first graduating class, was a member of the stage crew for the theater club and was in the band for the school chorus.
Honeycutt was a self-taught drummer and guitarist. He would lay his father's guitar on his lap at age 8 or 9 and strum the strings, "because he wasn't big enough to hold it," his mother said. He soon had his own guitar and a kid-size drum set. Honeycutt broke the set within a year, so his parents bought a standard set, which he mastered.
They made him stop playing the drums at night "for the neighbors' sake," but then he would pick up his guitar, Christine Honeycutt said. "You could hear it all over the house, but it was soothing and calming and relaxing. We all loved to hear it."
She said that many types of people gravitated to her son. He would offer them advice that was wise beyond his years, she said.
"He was a typical kid, but . . . there was something special about him," his mother said. "I always told him he would do great things with his life. I just didn't realize he was already doing them, helping people and then giving his own life for his country."
Beside her son's grave at Arlington, Christine Honeycutt hugged the flag presented to her by Sgt. Major Eric Stockton. She stopped to comfort her daughter, Dawn, when she received her flag.
Honeycutt was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He was deployed to Afghanistan in July.