Yesterday I was driving home, listening to The Kimmer Show (local radio show, PRO-MILITARY) and he was talking about a Soldier that was killed in Iraq coming home to Duluth (GA), a small town near us. He was a Sergeant, don't know his name. He was being flown into the ATL airport and taken via hearse to the funeral home in our area. The VFW was handing out flags to everyone lining the side of the road to welcome him home, according to the Kimmer.
I immediately got off the interstate and parked along the route. Someone gave me an American flag. We waited about an hour, lots of police, reporters, cameras, helicopters and all types of people. White, black, Asian, Hispanic, etc....
Some guy showed up in a nice BMW in a suit-looked like an attorney to me. He stood out there with everyone in the heat and humidity (in a suit)to show his respect.
The Duluth Police blocked the intersection nearby and the Police preceded the hearse. There were no other cars, just the hearse and the Police with their flashing lights. One guy near me (about 50, in shorts and a company shirt with a name tag, hat) came to attention and gave one of the snappiest salutes I have ever seen.
The hearse silently rolled down the street towards the funeral home. You could hear a pin drop. Just glad I was listening to The Kimmer Show so that I could pay my respects to this soldier.
I was feeling all kinds of emotions prior to the arrival of the hearse, but once I saw it, I felt calmed by the fact that he was going home to his loved ones. I will always remeber his sacrifice.
Thank you, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Warren.
Here is the article that was written in the AJC:
Warren honored with flags, salutes
By ROSALIND BENTLEY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 08/11/05
They stood waiting for him under clouds heavy with pending raindrops.
In eager hands they clutched small American flags, waiting for the moment
that he would go by so they could raise them in final salute. They huddled
in clots, scores and scores of them, all along that stretch of Ga. 120 in
Duluth that leads east to the funeral home.
He was my neighbor, some said.
He used to usher at our church, said another.
I served too, said a few.
However they knew him or didn't, they were united in their desire, and sense
of duty, some said, to honor this 36-year-old husband and father of two.
When Sgt. 1st Class Charles Warren left his family in Duluth nearly eight
months ago to go and fight in Iraq, he also left behind a community that
prides itself in its patriotism. In Duluth, if a hometown boy dies in a war,
he gets a white cross with his name on it. On Veterans Day and Memorial Day
those crosses line either side of Buford Highway, a main drag into town.
Yet on Wednesday, one cross stood alone next to a flag lowered to half-staff
just outside City Hall. It was Warren's. For years to come, that cross will
be a reminder of his death by a car bomb at a check point in Iraq last week.
Warren wasn't born in Duluth, but he called it home. Because of that, the
leaders of the city put out the call as soon as they heard the news: his
body would be returning to town in just a few hours.
Mayor Shirley Lasseter sent out e-mails just before noon and had the city
clerk Teresa Lynn hit the phone tree with this message: Everybody who can,
line the road leading to Bill Head Funeral Home no later than 5:15 p.m. They
were going to welcome Warren "back home as only Duluthians can do!"
Word went to the town merchants' association, the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis
Club, the Fall Festival Committee and nearly every church and Sunday school
"We just wish we could have gotten to the schools, to have the kids out
there," Lynn lamented in the moments leading up to the arrival of the
Duluth Police said they would escort Warren's body from the airport and have
him at the funeral home.
By 5:30 p.m., the edge of the parking lot at Proctor's Square strip mall on
was lined with people. Down the road, the same scene at Duluth First United
Methodist Church unfolded. In the parking lot at Bill Head's Funeral Home,
Warren's nearly 2-year-old son, Jackson, ran in the grass near his
grandmother, uncles and aunts, who were surrounded by mourners.
They waited. And waited. Drops fell intermittently from the sky. A
helicopter hovered overhead.
At 6:20 p.m., bleats from sirens approached. Those at the funeral home
hustled to the front of the driveway. Then came the flashing gold lights of
the police escort.
Warren's was the third vehicle to enter. Through the glass of the hearse
people could see his coffin. It was draped with a flag. Larger, but the same
as the ones his neighbors held in their hands, which covered their hearts.
pretty damn awesome!
This got to me, too:
One-year-old Alex Montgomery, dressed in a U.S. marine unform, attends the funeral of his father, U.S. Marine LCpl Brian Montgomery at the Western Reserve Memorial Gardens in Chesterland, Ohio August 10, 2005. LCpl Montgomery was killed while serving in Iraq August 1. REUTERS/Ron Schwane