Turner remembered for outlook [with gallery]
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Sgt. William Joshua Turner was not a man who took things for granted.
That’s the message his wife shared with the hundreds who gathered in Florala Saturday to remember the fallen Marine in a service of full military honors.
Turner, 25, was one of 12 Marines lost when two transport helicopters crashed off the coast of Hawaii in January. The helicopters were part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
“So many times we take things for granted, we don’t appreciate our lives as they are,” Elizabeth Turner wrote in a message shared with those who attended an outdoor service for him on Lake Jackson.. “Josh didn’t. He loved life, he had the most beautiful outlook on life.”
Mrs. Turner said her husband knew there was more to life than the naked eye could see.
“Though he’s gone, the impression he has left on myself and so many others is still and will forever will be present in our thoughts and actions but most of all in our hearts,” she said.
Mrs. Turner also spoke at the service.
“Because of Josh, I know I’m blessed,” Mrs. Turner said. “I know I was lucky to have known the unwavering and unconditional love we shared. He was more than my husband. He was the best friend I have ever had,” she said. “I will keep him in my heart forever.”
She also encouraged others to follow his example.
“Let not the loss of his life be a tragedy, but the joy of his life be a challenge to us,” she said. “To hope more; to love more, and to take the road less travelled often. So that we too can find the joy in life, as Josh did.”
The two had been married since April 11, 2015.
The Rev. Jerry Elmore, pastor of Mt. Olive Bible Church and a former minister to Turner, read a letter Turner wrote when he was 10.
“I love the Lord and I want to pray for my family that is not saved,” he wrote. He wrote that his prayer was that they would “get in church and be right.”
He also wrote, “I am ready to go to heaven … to walk the streets of gold and see my savior’s face.”
The Rev. Larry Wise, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, also spoke at the service, as did Mayor Robert Williamson. The service ended with full military honors, including a flyover by two Marine helicopters, and a 21-gun salute.
Community members lined Hwy. 331 from the Florala Airport to the Rodney J. Evans Memorial Center, named for another fallen Florala son, as the family travelled to the service.
Members of the Alabama Patriot Guard riders traveled from across the state to attend the service.
The city of Florala is renaming 9th Street, to be known as Sgt. Joshua Turner Street, Mayor Williamson said.