Yesterday, January 6, 2012, I had the honor of leading the funeral procession for PFC Justin Whitmire, a U.S. Army Medic that was killed in Afghanistan on December 27, 2011. This young man was only 20 years old and had only been in country for 17 days when his life came to an end by an IED. I did not know PFC Whitmire but in the days before his funeral I learned a lot about him and was touched by his courage and need to serve is country. I was asked by our Chief of Police to lead the funeral procession which I accepted as a great honor.
The outpouring from the community was overwhelming. There were threats by the Westboro Baptist Church that they would attend the funeral in protest. The community responded with hundreds showing up in support of PFC Whitmire and his family. There were flags flying and people lining the procession route shoulder to shoulder. As I led the procession in my patrol car I could not hold back my tears as I saw the support and love of this community with there signs and flags waving. Although it was such a sad day I could not help but be touched by the community and the way they came out for this young hero.