Monday, June 20, 2011

A Fallen Marine is Remembered

Today I had the honor of witnessing the funeral procession of a fallen marine from Stanley, NC. I intern in Gastonia and his body traveled from the airport in Charlotte to a church in Gastonia where a memorial service was held in honor of this soldier. I'll be honest- I don't watch the news really and I hardly ever read a newspaper. So I've been in my own little world and hadn't known that this had happened. But as the day went on, I heard about the memorial service, but what was most talked about was the fact that members of Westboro Baptist Church were planning on protesting this hero's memorial service. SERIOUSLY. I had heard about this stupid church and it's completely UNchristian, UNloving, HATEFUL mission before but I didn't know that really. come. to. EVERY. fallen soldier's funeral. I'm not going to link to the church to support their website visitation {in case they get paid per visit or something} but you can Google them if you want to know more about them.

One thing I learned about today & witnessed was this:
There are some groups of motorcyclists who take to their bikes to protect families from Westboro Baptist Church protesters. The American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders are both national organizations, that make a presence at soldier funerals. Both groups are open to all kinds of people, with the goal of respecting the soldiers and their families and let them mourn without distraction. Even with the protesters members of the groups say they manage to keep it peaceful.
"We don't confront the Westboro Baptist Church. Their goal is to promote their particular world view and that's fine. We just don't want them to bother the families of the soldiers as they do it," said American Legion Rider Chris Radloff.
They will only show up at the funerals with families' approval.

I think this is such a great idea-- Something/Someone to barricade the family from the evil protesters so they aren't hurt anymore than they already have been. They've already given the ultimate sacrifice....what more do these idiots want???

Can you tell that these people annoy me?

But anyways, back to the GOOD stuff...

The town of Gastonia {and probably the surrounding towns as well} asked their community to come out and line the streets of Hwy 74, the highway the procession traveled. They were supposed to come through the area around 1:15-1:45 today. Well, about 2:10, they came by. Luckily my internship site is on Hwy 74 so we got to go out & witness it to honor Lance Corporal Nic O'Brien.

Here's a little bit of info I found out about O'Brien. You can google more info if you wish:
Lance Corporal Nic O’Brien, 21, was killed June 9 in Afghanistan after being hit by an improvised explosive device (IED). He was serving in Helmund province, one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.
Josh Cathorne, O’Brien’s best friend and fellow marine, was seriously injured by the explosion.
O’Brien was an East Gaston High School graduate who played baseball and soccer. He was offered an academic scholarship to college but went into the Marines, something he’d talked about doing for years.
O’Brien’s memorial service was held Monday afternoon at the First Assembly Church of God on Myrtle Road in Gastonia. The service was open to the public.
O’Brien will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with full military rights June 28.

And here's a video of the funeral procession....check out all those motorcycles from The American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders!!

I am so thankful for this boy giving his life so that I can live in peace and have the freedoms I {try not to} take for granted!

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