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A hero returns

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Posted by Cindi on June 19, 2003 at 17:36:17 from (

Form my sister Dianne in Texas....

"I'm just passing along this wonderful, bittersweet story...
Glad to live in a state where our soldiers and sailors are respected..."

What follows is a message from Vicki Pierce (a member of my church here in
Highlands Ranch) about her nephew James' funeral (he was serving our
in Iraq):

I'm back, it was certainly a quick trip, but I have to also say it was one
of the most amazing experiences of my life. There is a lot to be said for
growing up in a small town in Texas.

The service itself was impressive with wonderful flowers and sprays, a
portrait of James, his uniform and boots, his awards and ribbons, his
There was lots of military brass and an eloquent (though inappropriately
longwinded) Baptist preacher. There were easily 1000 people at the service,
filling the church sanctuary as well as the fellowship hall and spilling
into the parking lot.

However, the most incredible thing was what happened following the service
on the way to the cemetery. We went to our cars and drove to the cemetery
escorted by at least 10 police cars with lights flashing and some other
emergency vehicles, with Texas Rangers handling traffic. Everyone on the
road who was not in the procession, pulled over, got out of their cars, and
stood silently and respectfully, some put their hands over their hearts,
some had small flags. Shop keepers came outside with their customers and
the same thing. Construction workers stopped their work, got off their
equipment and put their hands over their hearts, too. There was no noise
whatsoever except a few birds and the quiet hum of cars going slowly up the

When we turned off the highway suddenly there were teenage boys along both
sides of the street about every 20 feet or so, all holding large American
flags on long flag poles, and again with their hands on their hearts. We
thought at first it was the Boy Scouts or 4F club or something, but it
continued .... for two and a half miles. Hundreds of young people, standing
silently on the side of the road with flags. At one point we passed an
elementary school, and all the children were outside, shoulder to shoulder
holding flags ... kindergartners, handicapped, teachers, staff, everyone.
Some held signs of love and support. Then came teenage girls and younger
boys, all holding flags. Then adults. Then families. All standing silently
on the side of the road. No one spoke, not even the very young children.
last few turns found people crowded together holding flags or with their
hands on their hearts. Some were on horseback.

The military least two generals, a fist full of colonels, and
representatives from every branch of the service, plus the color guard
attended James, and some who served with him ... was very impressive and
respectful, but the love and pride from this community who had lost one of
their own was the most amazing thing I've ever been privileged to witness.

I've attached some pictures, some are blurry (we were moving), but you can
get a small idea of what this was like. Thanks so much for all the prayers
and support.

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