Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In Memory

On Easter, Enid lost one of its own sons in Baghdad, when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. The effect on our community has been profound. Sgt. Chris Hake's body arrived in Enid on Monday, met by his family, an honor guard from Ft. Sill, and an entire town whose citizens lined the streets from the airport to the funeral home.

His funeral was held this afternoon at the private school he attended. He will be buried Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetary. We, his fellow Oklahomans, want his parents, siblings, and his wife, to know how deeply we appreciate his sacrifice. We want baby Gage to one day understand how much that means to all of us. So you can imagine our dismay when we learned that a certain Kansas 'church' planned a protest. These are the people who like to show up at the funerals of fallen soldiers spewing their vile, repugnant ideas like so much sewage.

I drove with my daughter and her friend to the site of the protest. I drove past parking lots filled with people carrying flags. Past a nursing home with twenty-five to thirty residents, some in robes and slippers, many in wheelchairs, curbside, with American flags. And, past a hearse, followed by 100+ Patriot Guard Riders. Citizens had organized a peaceful counter protest, actually, a demonstration of love and respect. We held signs, we sang patriotic songs and hymns.

Five people showed up from Kansas. They were apparently across the street from us, behind the state troopers. They were outnumbered 25 to 1. They stayed until we sang "Oklahoma" at the top of our lungs. Then, they got in their vehicle and left. We stayed.

Yes, we have the right to free speech. We have the right to peaceful protest. But some things are just plain wrong. Disrespecting, dishonoring, degrading and defiling the memory of a fallen hero, who died so that you have the right to stand in the path of his funeral procession and cause more grief to a family who has already had more than they can bear.

Not in our town.


Blogger Heather said...

I'm so glad they were outnumbered and left. I think a funeral is the LAST place anyone should think of staging an anti-war protest. It's just wrong on so many levels.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a veteran of WW2 and the Korean War, I say thank you.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Un-friggen-believable! How can people be so cold and stupid. Great post Linda. Thank you.

7:39 PM  
Blogger KiddoKare1 said...

I agree with you 110%, Linda. I had to do a paper about these people last semester in one of my college classes. They are scary!!! While they certainly have the right to think what they want, a funeral is not the place to protest.

4:42 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

heather - These people aren't even anti-war. They go to the funerals of soldiers and declare that they deserved to die because they defend a nation that 'allows' homosexuality.

anon - From the bottom of my heart - thank YOU.

jeff - I don't know. Thank God there are more of us that try not to be.

tracy - These people were going to picket Curtis' graduation in Minnesota because his school embraced diversity. They are pure evil.

7:56 AM  
Anonymous Mandy Robinson said...

Thank you for having the courage to stand up for what is right. I considered going but knew in my situation I would just cry the whole time so decided against it. :-)

11:02 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

mandy - You and your family were right there with me, sweetie, in my heart and in my thoughts and prayers.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

It's true that love conquers all. It feels amazing to stand up for what you believe in and know is right, especially when you're not standing alone.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Di said...

Linda and Jessica, on behalf of my son-in-law John, and all of the other men and women that are in Iraq with him protecting our country, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I would have loved to be there with you. Danny is really thinking about joining the Patriot Guard when I get healed up in a few months. Those protesters need to be stopped.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

jess - You are so right, and I was very proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with you, fighting the good fight!

di - I was thinking of John while we were out there, he was very much with us. Danny would be a great Patriot rider.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Curtis said...

I can't describe the rage I get inside when I think of Fred Phelps and his angry followers. Yes, they were the ones who were at my graduation protesting because my school has a gay/lesbian/trans/bi program. The claims these people make are absolutely insane, and they seem to think they know what God thinks or says. Do we really know what these people are hoping to accomplish?

Ugh I could go on for a very long time about these people. I generally avoid using the word "hate" and there really aren't many people I hate. But... well, you know where this is going.

They just make me so mad.

That's why I have a great sense of satisfaction inside when they are faced with what they saw at Sgt Hake's ceremony. Outnumbered 25 to 1, they turned and ran with their tails between their legs.

I'm so proud of Enid and the people like Sgt Hake who come from Enid.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

curtis - I was very proud of the people of Enid and surrounding communities. When the hate mongers realized they couldn't make us stoop to their level, they moved on.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

As I was reading your post I was thankful that my little hometown in Idaho hadn't had any war deaths, until I read the Idaho Statesman online this morning.

Thank you for this great post.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Mom Thumb said...

carla - Unfortunately, everyone is touched by this conflict. Hopefully, it will be over soon. Thanks for reading.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so wonderful, the way people in Enid turned out to show their gratitude! Every time I see a picture on T.V. of a soldier killed in Iraq, I get all teary. I hate that our young men have to die like that. I pray every day and ask God to bring peace to Iraq!!! Lois

9:08 PM  

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