Wednesday, July 19, 2006

:: I went to a soldier's funeral today::

I knew that on July 8th a soldier from Detroit Lakes, MN was killed in Iraq. He was the 4th national guardsman from my little town to die in the war.

Today was his funeral. I didn't know Spec Troy Linden, 22 but I heard that the phelps sickos were supposed to show up and the church was just walking distance from here. So I decided to go pay my respects and stand with the Patriot Guard Riders in case of any protest.

There were almost 1000 people including the mourners which spilled out into the middle school gym where a TV station from fargo set up a screen for them to attend the funeral.

They also played the speaker from the church outside the church so I stayed to listen. Beautiful eulogies about a kid who loved to snowboard and 4wheel in the mud, a brave kid who joined the Army in 2002 and was sent to Iraq with an engineering batallion in 2005 and died when an IED struck his humvee on a bridge in Ramadi 2 weeks ago.

I listened to the music and the prayers. Seems like half the town turned out.

There were about 300-400 patriot guard riders surrounding the church. I saw some people holding signs down a hill far away from the church, an officer told me there were a few protesters but no one was allowed to go down there. Fine with me.

The service was beautiful and I went there completely emotionally unprepared because I didn't know about this funeral until this morning.

When the honor guard and pall bearers brought the flag covered coffin out of the small church followed by 2 soldiers holding his pregnant mother by her arms while she sobbed followed by Troy's father holding a 5 or 6 yr old boy and a teen age girl behind them.

I lost my breath. There it was, the cost of war 15 feet in front of my face.

I was given a flag to hold by one of the patriot riders and stood lining the street with all the other very sad faced americans standing with me while the patriot riders escorted the hearse and the 5 military vans carrying the young family and all the friends vehicles passed me. I stood with my hand over my heart and all I could think about is what a waste of a life.

It's taken me about an hour to be able to post this.

I'm overwhelmed. Bless Spec. Linden for his service and bless his family in their time of loss.

I've now been to more military funerals than the commander and chief. How very sad.