Memorial service honors midshipman killed in accident

December 09, 1997|By Neal Thompson | Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF

Friends and officers at the Naval Academy said goodbye yesterday to Jeffrey Bryan Landrum, a midshipman from Lynchburg, Va., who was killed in a motorcycle accident Nov. 29 while he was home for Thanksgiving break.

Hundreds of midshipmen attended a memorial service at the Naval Academy Chapel for Landrum, 20, who had aspired to join the Marine Corps after graduating from Annapolis. A junior, or second classman, Landrum's "shipmates" recalled how their funny, spontaneous and slightly crazy and fearless friend with the infectious smile had changed their lives for the better.

"Jeff was such a funny guy," said Midshipman David Bruner. "He was so full of life."

Bruner said he and his fellow classmates have been sharing their favorite memories -- most of them humorous -- about Landrum during the past week. Their goal has been to keep Landrum's memory alive, in their minds and across the academy grounds.

"I still see him. I see him everywhere I walk on The Yard," Bruner said. "Jeff was a beautiful man."

Gathered beneath the cavernous dome of the 90-year-old chapel, Landrum's two "families" mingled, prayed and sang: his parents and siblings from Lynchburg, and his Naval Academy family.

Landrum was featured last year in a Washington Post article about life at the academy. He told the newspaper that although his football career was cut short by his struggle to keep his grades high, he loved the academy and considered it home.

The day after Thanksgiving, Landrum was riding his motorcycle through a town near his home, with a friend riding on the back, when he lost control and struck a brick column at the end of a driveway. Landrum's friend suffered minor injuries and Landrum died the next day. His fellow midshipmen learned last week of his death as they returned from their Thanksgiving holiday.

"He taught me what true friendship was supposed to be and how to be myself without worrying what other people thought," said Colin Gallagher, one of Landrum's closest friends.

Classmate Andrew Lawler said he hopes that Landrum's inspiring attitude will linger at the academy.

"So I've been listening to the wind, remembering all the great times we spent together," Lawler said, his words echoing off the chapel's stone walls. "I will continue to listen to the wind to hear your voice."

Pub Date: 12/09/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.