I reported last evening on my radio show that Congressman Wayne Gilchrest had sent an email asking for support at the funeral of Petty Officer David Roddy. Roddy, who was killed in Iraq while trying to dismantle a bomb, leaves a wife and three young children. The Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest the funeral as they have done all over the country. The email asked that we arrive by 0900 and line the streets and asked that we all have American Flags. I arrived at 0840 and there was already a huge crowd in place (a few pictures here) and ready to deny the Westboro folks access to the funeral. The Bel Air and Abingdon Fire Departments had their trucks (those are the ones with the big extending ladders) and they erected the ladders across the street and hung a huge American Flag from them.
There was a steady stream of motorcycle riders from various groups. Riders with names like Sniper, Homebrew, J Dawg, and Rebel were in place to prevent a fallen hero from being dishonored and they were in such large numbers that the dignity of the family at their time of grief was all but assured. There were around 500 motorcycles and their riders, and probably 500 or 600 additional people there as well. The number of Flags was overwhelming and there was a lady passing out Flags for those who did not have one. During this time of preparation everyone acted with dignity and respect for the family.
We were given a warning when the family motorcade was in route and they arrived escorted by motorcycle police officers. The hearse was part of that motorcade and people bowed their heads in respect as it passed by. The absolute silence of so many people at that particular time is one I will not forget. The only sound I heard after the hearse had passed was the sound of a group singing God Bless America. We all stayed in the area while the funeral service was held inside the St. Francis de Sales Church. David was buried in the cemetery that is part of the Church so when they were ready to come outside for that part of the funeral, people gathered around the perimeter of the graveyard. I was fortunate enough to be right at the grave site where I could see and hear the service. As it would happen, as they were bringing the small box with David's remains from the Church, a light sprinkle of rain began to fall. It seemed to me at the time that tears from Heaven were being shed for this fallen hero.