Farewell To An American Hero, Petty Officer David Roddy

Funeral

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 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.

As David’s remains were carried up the walk an Honor Guard from the Knights of Columbus raised their swords in a crossed arch as he was carried through. The small box was placed at the grave by a sailor and we all participated in prayer. When that was completed the announcement to prepare for military honors was sounded. As military members, past and present, rendered a hand salute, the firing squad rendered the appropriate honors as seven sailors fired three volleys and then a bugler played Taps. The Flag was folded and presented to the family and I noticed I was not the only old soldier brought to tears by the event.

With that, a young American Hero was laid to rest. He was honored by people who did not know him but felt a sense of duty to ensure his funeral was not interrupted by people whose misguided views do not belong there. I believe his family, though in extreme grief, had to feel comfort in knowing that so many people had traveled from all over the state to help them say good-bye to a young man who made the extreme sacrifice so that others might live in freedom. I hope that our presence showed that family that they are not alone and that we, as Americans, are in this together and that regardless of feelings about the war and regardless of party affiliation, we can come together to do the right thing and give the appropriate honor to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces.

Funeral

What about the Westboro folks? Well, they must have gotten the message because they never got close enough for anyone to see or hear them. I was told by one of the gentlemen there that they had arrived and the closest they could get was a water tower about a quarter of a mile away. Our presence kept them from getting close and kept them from dishonoring David Roddy. We prevented them from spewing their hatred and we prevented them from protesting in a place where it is not appropriate.

To all the folks who attended I would like to thank you for helping the family of a brother in arms. I know there were a million other things you could have been doing, but I also know that for you, like me, there was no place else you would rather have been. God bless you all.

David’s Guest Book

UPDATE:WJZ TV has some great pictures on its website.

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8 Responses to “Farewell To An American Hero, Petty Officer David Roddy”

  1. Weekend Links…

    Big Dog has a must read Tribute To A Fallen Hero
    Investors Business Daily: 97 Reasons Democrats Are Weak On Defense And Can’t Be Trusted To Govern In Wartime
    Hot Air: No Excuses For Terror
    My Pet Jawa: AIDS called “gay disease”
    ……

  2. You dumbass! We never traveled to this silly event, because there were much bigger fish to fry, and you boneheads already had received (and extensively published) our message. It tickles me how you so-called military geniusus so clumsily resort to disinformation tactics to make yourselves look better. Perhaps you should wake up to the reality that we’re not interested in how we “look”, we’re interested in getting the message out — which all your caterwauling enhances exponentially!

    Git ‘R Done, Losers!

  3. Big Dog says:

    Well Tim,
    I said that I was told you never got close and if you were too cowardly to show up then I was right.

    It never ceases to amaze me how you so called religious folk preach so much hate. I am glad you did not show up and personally, I hope your bus crashes and you all die a firey death. You all are nothing but a bunch of lower than life cretins who think you are important. Fact is, you are a nobody and you only protest to get your ugly, perverted face on TV.

    God does not hate America because God does not hate. But humans are imperfect and therefore capable of hate and having said that, I hate you and all the people like you. I think asshats like you should get to spend 10 minutes with one of us genius military types, no holds barred. Then we would see that your alligator mouth writes checks your hummingbird ass can’t cash.

    But let me be pleasant about it: Screw you and all the people like you and if you don’t like it you know what town I live in, you just might get those 10 minutes.

  4. Sonnabend says:

    Dear Tim,

    Your perverted and hateful deeds violate the very tenets of the faith you claim to worship. Your judgemental hate and your defiling of the reverence at the funeral of a loved one is a disgrace.

    You have managed to get your message out all right….believe me, Tim,the Westboro Baptist Church is well known even overseas.

    Yes..we know you…for who and what you are.

    Christ teaches forgiveness and love, compassion and caring, truths that you seem to have forgotten.

    Or ignored.

    My God is one of love, of understanding, He died for me on the Cross and washed away my sins, He loves me and I am his child..when my time comes I will go home joyously.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall never die, but have eternal life.

    My name is in the Book of Life.

    Is yours?

  5. GM Roper says:

    Dear Tim, You know, it’s strange that a person who calls himself a follower of the Christ would lower himself to calling someone else a “dumbass.” If you are so filled with the nastiness that you seem to be, perhaps getting down on your knees and asking Almighty God for forgiveness. Too, I would be very careful of pronouncing judgements were I you, that smacks of hubris and God has said, “Judge not, lest ye also be judged.”

    Go in peace Tim, and remember that God loves even you (though you are no doubt straining that love), perhaps you will even take the time to (as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous) “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” It would seem to me that should you do so, that God might even smile on you. But, that is between you and God and I don’t want to be that fly on the wall overhearing what he has to say to you on that day of judgment, for I suspect, but cannot know, that his judgement might be fairly harsh.

  6. Westboro Cult Plans To Desecrate Amish Girls’ Memorial…

    The Westboro Cult of Hate plans to set-up one of their ugly, hate-filled, despicable protests at the memorial services for the five little Amish girls executed in their schoolhouse by a madman.
    The Westboro Cult claims that Governor Ed Rendell (PA) i…

  7. TexasFred says:

    Show up at one of the funerals here in Texas, you’ll get a much ‘hotter’ Texas welcome than you could EVER imagine..

  8. Barb says:

    Are these people from West Virginia??? They look it.