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Funeral Held For Detroit Soldier Killed In Berlin Nightclub Bombing

April 12, 1986

DETROIT (AP) _ Army Sgt. Kenneth T. Ford, killed in the bombing of a Berlin nightclub, was remembered at his funeral Saturday as a father figure who ″always wanted to help somebody else.″

More than 250 people packed tiny Flowery Mount Baptist Church in Detroit to honor Ford, 21, who died in the explosion April 5 at the La Belle discotheque. Another 100 mourners stood outside the chapel.

″He’ll be a brother sometimes, but he was like a father also,″ said Robin Beecham, Ford’s younger brother who is a U.S. Army private stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany.

″When he sees you make a mistake or he knows a way that you can do things better, he kind of pulled away from the brother side and would sit you down and tell you how to go about doing it,″ Beecham said.

Ford was ordained a deacon at the church five years ago and spent hours playing basketball with his brother and another deacon, Daniel Moore.

″As we’d play basketball together, he would tell me, ’Be strong, big fella,‴ Moore told the congregation. ″He always wanted to help somebody else. He always said, ’Don’t worry about me.‴

Telegrams were read to the congregation from U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp, R-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who did not attend.

The Rev. Floyd Moore, the church’s pastor, blasted President Reagan for failing to contact the family to express his condolences.

″Servicemen are going over to a land trying to protect our country, and the head of this nation doesn’t care enough when they die,″ Moore told the congregation.

Afterward, Beecham also questioned why the family had not heard from the president.

″I just wonder how come he hasn’t called, because what I wanted him to do to let us know that he appreciated my brother as much as we did,″ Beecham said.

Beecham said his brother’s death probably wouldn’t bring policy changes for American military personnel overseas.

″Regardless, if we did change the policy, things would still happen, because this has been going on for years and years,″ he said. ″It just hasn’t begun since my brother got killed.

″No one knows when they’re going to get killed. So you can’t really hide from being killed if it’s your time to go. The Lord will see fit in what way he wants you to leave this earth.″

The Allied command on Saturday banned suspected terrorists from West Berlin as a result of the nightclub bombing, which also killed a Turkish woman and injured 230.

″Even if it is a good reason for (servicemen) to be over there in the first place, those protections ... are not enough to protect us because God has control over the world,″ Moore said. ″I don’t care how we ride the Berlin walls. It is not enough to protect us from the wrath to come.″

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