Lance Cpl. Sutton deserves honors

Over its history, America has lost some of its finest sons and daughters in foreign lands where they answered the call of their country with the ultimate sacrifice.

That sober point was made again this past Memorial Day weekend, one in which Southwest Georgia lost one of its sons, Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton, in a distant country.

According to reports, Sutton, who just a few years ago was protecting the quarterback on the playing field of Lee County High School stadium, died Saturday in the killing fields of Afghanistan as he served to protect his country.

Reports say that he was fatally injured by an improvised explosive device. Since U.S. military operations began in Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, at least 1,857 U.S. military personnel have been killed there.

This Marine — our Marine — was only 24 years old. Here, his memory lives on, even as the shock of his death reverberates in the region.

At 6-foot-7, he stood tall among his peers, both in size and demeanor. “He was just a good kid. Slow to anger — as big as he was you could understand how a kid his size could be overbearing or aggressive — but that just wasn’t him,” Lee County High School Principal Kevin Dowling recalled. “He had a kind way about him, was never any trouble and was the kind of student we strive to create here in Lee County.”

And by all reports, that was the kind of man — the kind of Marine — he grew up to be.

Details of exactly what happened and how it happened weren’t available by late Tuesday and funeral arrangements had not been made locally, but what is known is this — a fine young man, a fine young Marine stationed in a war zone in a country where our “allies” often turn on us, died a hero, one who was taken from us far too soon. A young man, full of promise, has died for his home and his nation, a sacrifice he didn’t want to make, but one that was required of him. Our nation is grateful to him, though we also realize we are poorer for his loss.

In the past week, we’ve celebrated the success of another native son of Lee County, and rightfully so. Signs up and down the streets of Leesburg and Albany were ablaze with best wishes and congratulations for “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips, a fine, deserved display of hometown and regional pride.

We hope that our area will similarly honor Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton, publicly recognizing his sacrifice and the sacrifice of his family, friends and other loved ones. In a nation where the word “hero” often gets misused to describe entertainers, politicians and sports figures, Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton is the true definition of a hero.

The death of a young man is nothing to celebrate. There is nothing that can be done to truly comfort his loved ones. It is a sober reminder of what our military personnel put on the line every day for a nation that usually is too preoccupied with everyday life to notice.

The death of this Marine, however, is something to publicly acknowledge, something to take to heart, something to appreciate deeply, and something to remember.

Rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton. America salutes you. We salute you. And we will never forget you.


waltspecht 3 years, 4 months ago

May the Lord bless his Family in this time of grief. I shall be putting my Soldier's Cross by my flag this evening in his Honor


rock 3 years, 4 months ago

The city of Leesburg will not make any effort to HONOR this fallen Marine. He died a MARINE and not a TV celebrity. If he could sing and dance the Mayor would have given his parents the key to the city and raised funds for travel. This is a TRUE hero where only a select few will grieve. However, he will be remembered decades after Phillip Phillps and Luke bryan have left the stage. A Marine will be remembered by his fellow Marines well into Old age and will have his story told over and over again by the marines who served with and loved him. Forty Plus years later and I still remember fallen friends, Steve Sutton will be remembered and Honored by those he fought with forever.


ObjectiveEyes 3 years, 4 months ago

I hope you are wrong, rock, I hope you are wrong.


DoctorDorite 3 years, 4 months ago

This should remind us all what's really important here at home. Welcome home Cpl Sutton, job well done, now rest in peace knowing you gave all.


Thurman 3 years, 4 months ago

Lance Corporal Steve Sutton deserves to be sent home in the way only South Georgians can do it. His funeral procession should travel along roads, streets, highways on which there are people standing shoulder-to-shoulder waving the American Flag and throwing flowers along the pavement. ALL traffic should be stopped along side of each route of this procession. All people should exit their vehicles, safely, and stand with their hands over their hearts for this procession. It is the least we can do for Lance Corporal Steve Sutton, his immediate family, his wife's family, his relatives, and friends. This is an American Serviceman who gave his life so that we are able to do these things. This is truly an American Hero. I would love to see more signs honoring Lance Corporal Steve Sutton and more American flags at half-staff in both Dougherty and Lee Counties. Thank you for reading.


Clyde 3 years, 4 months ago

Your first comment is wrong Rock. Leesburg will do something and is in the process as we speak. Some of the roadside support may not be in Lee county so maybe the question shoud be is ALBANY going to do what is needed so that we can show roadside support as the hurst brings our fallen hero from the church in Leesburg to Crown Hill on Dawson Road. I truly hope and pray someone, it may take more than one person with a lot of heart and gut to coordinate this in time to provide the information to us that we need in order to be where we should be, when we should be to show the best respect and support to the family that we possibly can. The last part of your comment Rock is true. A Marine NEVER dies.


guardian 3 years, 4 months ago

Clyde, Don't worry about Albany; we will do whatever is necessary to honor this Marine.


rock 3 years, 4 months ago

All right Clyde, show me where I am wrong! where is the mayoral proclamations, where is his family being given the key to the city, what day is steve sutton day in leesburg??? Other than a few citizens trying to get something accomplished what has the city leaders of leesburg done???? Phillips family was given the key to the city while he was still in California, a day was named in his honor etc. same for Luke Bryan. so where have I missed the mark??


Trustbuster 3 years, 4 months ago

"From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" a line from the Marine anthem. I pay my respects to Lance Cpl. Sutton. My cousin was a Marine who served in Vietnam. He did not comeback either. When I think about the Marine Corp I remember the famous photo of the American flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi during the Iwo Jima Battle.


chinaberry25 3 years, 4 months ago

Rock, I bet they do not name a road after him like some of the celebrities. Or have a parade on Saturday. Yes, this is like the poem, "It is sweet and fitting to die for ones country". Not so anymore. But thankfully there will always be a few who remember.


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