In The News

Honor: Zac Cook Displayed It; So Did Many Who Participated in the Soldier's Funeral

Lufkin Daily News

Honor is not a word to be used lightly, and Americans generally do not misuse it. It was used quite a bit — and with good reason — during Saturday's funeral service for Zachary Ryan "Zac" Cook, the Lufkin soldier who died in a Black Hawk training exercise last week in College Station.

Honor is not a word to be used lightly, and Americans generally do not misuse it. It was used quite a bit — and with good reason — during Saturday's funeral service for Zachary Ryan "Zac" Cook, the Lufkin soldier who died in a Black Hawk training exercise last week in College Station.

Those who spoke at the service had no problem establishing the honor of Cook, a 22-year-old man who had lived to serve. They called him "a natural leader," one who was always willing and ready to help others.

There was really no doubt about the courage and honor of Zac Cook. What impressed us was the courage and honor displayed by many of the people who participated in the memorial service at Lufkin's First Baptist Church, and the burial service at the Garden of Memories. They included:

Army 1st Lt. Ellis W. Taylor — The 31-year-old helicopter pilot showed incredible class by coming to the funeral in a wheelchair. "Ellis is a stand-up guy," said Army Col. Samuell Hawes. "He is in significant pain. This is not easy."

Cook's father and brother — David Cook Sr. shared some incredible stories with a minister who spoke at the funeral, and David Cook Jr. talked about how his brother had helped shape America's future leaders. Both men encouraged others to display their love for their family and friends before it was too late.

Hall Henderson — Zac Cook's former classmate at Lufkin High School was brave enough to get up and speak about the friend he had lost, but his words —and the way he delivered them — were awe-inspiring. Henderson pointed out that, had Zac written a script for his life, it probably would have ended just as it did, albeit "certainly longer." Watch out for Henderson. If and when he returns from school to Lufkin, he'll be an amazing leader himself.

The Patriot Guard Riders — This group of bikers makes it their mission in life to attend the funerals of fallen soldiers, and you could see on their faces Saturday, as they manned U.S. flags at the cemetery, that they felt indebted to the sacrifice of Zac Cook.

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert — It was a fairly busy weekend in Washington, especially considering what would be happening there within a few days, but our congressman made his way to Lufkin to participate in the graveside services. He spoke briefly before handing a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol to Zac's family.

All of these men were simply paying their respects to a man who had displayed honor in his short life. The way they did it, they displayed some of their own.