Thursday, August 18, 2011
Respect for the Fallen
Four men will be laid to rest this week in our area as a result of Taliban insurgents shooting down the Chinook transport helicopter in which they were riding during a night raid in Afghanistan. They were among the 38 on board that lost their lives on August 6, 2011.
This has been a solemn week in Olathe, KS. Tuesday 15,000+ people lined the streets near my house as the funeral procession went by for Army Spc. Spencer Duncan. His remains were brought back to his hometown, Olathe, KS. His funeral services will be held this morning (Thursday).
Tuesday, we received an email from our church regarding the services for US Navy CPO (SEAL) Matt Mason. Here is a small excerpt...
On Wednesday morning The Church of the Resurrection is hosting the funeral for Matt Mason, one of the Navy Seals who died in Afghanistan last week. Several of Matt and Jessica's friends are members of our church and we are honored to serve the family and to make our building, volunteers and staff available to care for them. I will be assisting with the service but the Mason's pastor from San Diego will preach.
We understand that the Topeka "church" that seems to specialize in spreading hurt and hate plans to protest from 135th Street. We've discussed a variety of options for addressing these protesters but in the end we believe that the best approach is to ignore them. They come seeking publicity and attention. We'd rather not give it to them. I'm hoping the media, too, might simply ignore them. They are a very small group that shows up at funerals because it gets them noticed. I wonder how long they would do this if no one paid them any attention.
I am told there are some planning to counter-protest. I would discourage you from participating - it only makes for a bigger media event. The Patriot Guard Riders will be here ensuring the family doesn't see the protester's signs.
Sure enough, I look up the schedule for the Westboro Baptist hatemongers and this funeral is on the schedule. Now this just makes me tremendously sad.
Yesterday morning, like every Wednesday morning, I meet a group of ladies for coffee at the Panera Bread Company that is located one block west from our church. As we were settling in for our chat, the cafe started to fill up with the Patriot Guard Riders. If you are not familiar with Patriot Guard Riders you can click here for more information.
Patriot Guards come to funerals as invited guests of the families and they form a barrier to keep the family from having to view the likes of demonstrators and protesters that disrespect the funerals of individuals that give their lives to service for their country or community. This includes military, firefighters and police officers.
Yesterday, Matt Mason's family did not see the protesters. I have a tape of the protesters being held back back by the Patriot Guard Riders but decided not to post it as I don't want the hatemongers to get any exposure. I will instead, insert a picture taken outside of the church.
Today, the service will be held for US Army Spc Spencer Duncan at another Olathe church. The Patriot Guards will be there as well.
I send up my sincerest condolences for the families and friends for all the men that lost their lives.