Freddie Lee Hillhouse Service

Freddie Lee Hillhouse

A special thanks to guest contributor Linda Sue Hicks.

Linda writes for the Log Cabin Democrat and is the President of the Vilonia Veterans Museum.

Vietnam Veteran Freddie Lee Hillhouse, 71, of El Dorado, may have had more friends in death than in life. A speaker that officiated his services today at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery said he lived in a small trailer behind another house. He appeared to have no friends or family, the speaker said, adding that the only ones known to check on his well-being was his caregivers. “My heart is full,” the speaker said, to see so many of his “brothers in arms” present as he is being laid to rest. The speaker said it was only anticipated that a handful would show up for the graveside service—even though it was blasted on social media. “This is a veteran who left without friends and family,” he said. “I am thankful it didn’t stay that way.” “He deserved nothing less than a crowded funeral,” the speaker said, adding that the service was an opportunity to say goodbye to Mr. Hillhouse and to “bring honor where honor is due.”

At the memorial, an estimated 500 plus stood shoulder to shoulder to honor Freddie Lee Hillhouse. Some active military were wearing uniforms. It was evident that many, who had served in years past, were also in attendance. Some wore vests, caps and pins showing their military affiliations. Representatives of American Legions, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Veterans Affairs, Combat Vets, Patriotic Guard, Rolling Thunder and Freedom Warriors were present. There were also plenty of civilians—some were dressed in working attire while others wore jeans. Mr. Hillhouse was born June 24, 1944. He served in the U.S. Army, the speaker said, for nearly two years including in 1967, when he was serving in Vietnam. The ceremony included the flag ceremony, volley firing, taps and bagpipes.

Referring to it as the soldier’s Psalm, Psalms 91 was read:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

That is a prayer, the speaker said, that has been said by many serving in the military from jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan to the sands of Iraq. A moving statement, the speaker said, he has laid to rest four homeless veterans during the past month and a half. Tears were shed for Freddie Lee Hillhouse and the many other veterans that have been lost.

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