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36324 LTC William Earl Bowers USA (Retired)
September 18, 1957 - September 10, 2004


Personal Eulogy

I'd like to thank you all for coming here to remember my brother Bill, and to celebrate his life and all that he gave to us.

Bill was not just my older brother - he was my best friend.

He was not just an uncle to my sons and an in-law to my wife - he was their hero.

He was not just a leader to his people - he was an inspiration.

He was not just a soldier - he was a patriot.

He lived by the warrior ethos and applied it throughout his life:

  • Always place the mission first. He always prioritized his family, his country, and his work.
  • Never leave a fallen comrade behind. He took the heaviest risks and covered his people to make sure that they were safe.
  • Never accept defeat. He put his all into everything he did and taught others to always give their best, whether in sports, in the military, or in business.

When our firstborn son was christened, we chose Bill & Evelyn as godparents because we hoped that someday our oldest son might be as great as Bill. We also felt that if anything happened to us, we could think of no better people to care for our legacy. We are pledged to do the same for Bill.

Bill leaves behind his own amazing legacy:

  • So many soldiers, students, and comrades whose futures he nurtured, whose lives he shaped, and whose souls he touched.
  • His wife Evelyn who was the love of his life, an amazing partner who was always there for him, who made him very happy, and who held everything together no matter where in the world he was and no matter how long he was gone. She was the reason he could give his all in everything he did, and she was the reason he had great clarity in his life. He trusted her completely, and loved her absolutely, and he always will.
  • His son Brian whom he cherished so deeply and of whom he was so proud not just for accomplishments that others recognized - the winning goal in soccer, good grades, and popularity - but more so for having a good heart that you can see just as clearly as you can see in Brian the natural ease and grace that Bill had, for choosing a career and a path that gave service to others and for being true to himself. Most of all, he loved Brian for just being Brian: his son.
  • His daughter Jennifer who always amazed and dazzled him with her energy, her spirit, and her love of life. He was so proud of her drive, of her independence, and of her amazing insight from the time that she was just a little girl to this point where she has become an exceptionally strong and thoughtful person beyond her years. She brought such light to him throughout his life, and he loved being her Dad.

This is how we must remember him, not because it is easy - it is very hard - but because it is the way he would have wanted us to remember him.

Bill, we will miss you, but we know that the world is a much better place because of you.

My son 9-year old son William, who was named after Bill, picked out this poem called "I Vow To Thee, My Country" and recast it for Bill. It seems to tell his story well.

In Memory of William Bowers
Warrior, Teacher, Best Friend, and Hero
"I Vow To Thee, My Country" by Sir Cecil Springs Rice

You vowed to us and to your country
All earthly things above -
Entire and whole and perfect,
The service of your love,
Your love that asked no questions,
Your love that stood the test,
You laid upon the altar the dearest and the best:
Your love that never faltered,
Your love that paid the price,
Your love that made - undaunted - the final sacrifice.
Now there's another country,
Where you've been asked to go -
Most dear to them who love her,
Most great to them who know.
She does not have an Army.
She does not have King.
Her fortress is a faithful heart,
That heals all suffering.
And soul by soul, and silently,
Her patriots' ranks increase.
Her ways are ways of gentleness
And all her paths are Peace.

Bill, as you travel to that next place
Of love and comfort and peace,
We will remember everything about you.
When we feel the strong wind wrapping around us,
We'll know that it is your bear hug, the one that always made us feel so safe and right.
When we hear the patter of rain against our windows,
We will recognize the sound of your voice, full of laughter and energy and humor that always made us feel alive.
When we see the ocean with the sunlight glinting off the surface,
We'll be looking into your eyes that would always twinkled at us like we were sharing a best-friend joke or story.
And when we see the clear blue sky,
We'll recognize your pure heart guiding us to give our best in all that we do.
We know that you are with us for as long as we live.
We will never forget you.
We love you and will carry you in our hearts forever.

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