It was a bright sunny day when Sergeant Major Mahlon C. Simms Jr. was laid to rest. The funeral on Saturday saw many people come out to honor the longtime resident of Anacoco and U.S. Army soldier at the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Leesville.
Although his only surviving family were his stepchildren and step grandchildren many in the community came out to honor him.
Representatives from Fort Polk, the VFW, American Legion and the Patriot Guard Riders came out to honor his life, service and dedication to his country.
Simms was born on April 2, 1939 and passed away on August 27 in Anacoco.
He served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, notably during the Vietnam War.
He received many awards and honors during his service. Among his honors are the Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
He is preceded in death by his wife Sarah and his parents. Survived by his stepchildren and step grandchildren. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing as a pastime.
War veterans and area citizens came out to honor him as well. Many who were their didn’t even know him personally but felt the need to honor someone who served our country during a time of great crisis.
He was eulogized by Fort Polk Chaplain Travis James Dalsis who after the ceremony spoke about what an honor it was to serve a fellow soldier.
“Being a chaplain and being able to speak at someone’s funeral who had so many years of experience in the military is an honor. Part of the chaplain’s duties is to honor the fallen, and that’s what I’m doing here today.” Dalsis said.
Dalsis also commented on the outpouring of support from the community when a soldier is laid to rest.
“It speaks volumes for the respect and patriotism in this communities, for those that may not have much family left to show that we will be there to honor them.”
Shots rang out as a gun salute honored Simms and the familiar tune of Taps played on a trumpet followed as veterans, active duty servicemen and civilians honored a man that dedicated his life to serving his country.