East Texan Leads Procession To Capitol Hill - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/9/04 - Marshall

East Texan Leads Procession To Capitol Hill

People from around the world watched in silence as President Ronald Reagan's body was carried to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Among the thousands paying their respects, Sergeant Matthew Stanfield of Marshall. At age 21, Sgt. Stanfield became a part of history as he rode the lead horse of the wagon team carrying the former president's body down Constitution Avenue.

Stanfield's mother, Sibyl King, says watching her son in the procession was touching."When I found out that he actually got chosen to do this, I started crying."

King, who calls herself a woman of few words, says this day will be etched in her mind for more reasons than one. "I'll just remember that my son was a part of it and that he was a part of history."

Sgt. Stanfield is currently stationed in Virginia and serving his second tour of duty in the Army's Old Guard Caisson Platoon. His mother says he's not quite old enough to remember President Reagan, but he knows he has served in a moment of history.

"He's really honored and excited. I could always depend on him. He's loyal to his family and he's loyal to his country," King says.

While watching the procession, King says seeing her son carry the man she calls "one of our country's best" has given her peace in a time of loss.

"When I watch the people filing by the casket, then I get sad. I've caught myself getting teary eyed, like I am now. I think he was really good for our country and held us together."

Sgt. Stanfield has served in more than 550 funerals with full honors. Those include one for the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy and some from those killed in the September 11th terror attacks.

He's expected to re-enlist in the army in January and says in the future, he will pursue aviation in the military.

Braid Sharp, reporting.

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