"Daniel was a very special child. He was one that came to me late in life and he was my right hand."
He was his father's right hand, a best friend to his little sister and admired by an entire community. Thursday morning they gathered to say their final good-byes to 20-year-old Lance Corporal Daniel Chaires.
The Marine was killed October 25 in Northern Iraq, just six weeks into his first tour of duty in Iraq. He is remembered as young man who dreamed of becoming a Marine, to walk in his father Harry's footsteps and fight for a country he loved.
Harry said, "I have a heavy heart and it's going to hurt, but I know that Daniel died doing what he thought was best for his country, I know that with my heart because he told me."
More than one thousand people filled the Chaires United Methodist Church, each finding strength in the will of a young man, a Marine they would come to know as an American hero.
Harry added, "I just want our community to rally behind our troops and quit listening to the rhetoric on television because it's not helping our troops at all and it's certainly not helping our society."
Daniel was laid to rest in a family cemetery in his parents’ backyard, always under the watchful eye of his father and mother and in eternal rest under the flag he gave his life for.
The family will be setting up a memorial fund in honor of their son to continue to the support of the troops overseas. Daniel's 16 year old sister Hannah will spearhead the effort.
Lance Corporal Daniel Chaires will receive five military medals for his service, including a Purple Heart. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell also named him deputy sheriff Wednesday night, a goal Daniel told Sheriff Campbell he hoped to fulfill when returning from his tour of duty in Iraq.