Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Funeral of Pfc. Justin Whitmire

At left: Pfc Justin Whitmire, age 20, upstate soldier killed on December 27th, only 19 days after arriving in Afghanistan.






I had planned on titling this post "Up close and personal with the Westboro Baptist Church"--but instead, I witnessed an amazing sight. I saw about 3000 members and associates of the Patriot Guard Riders stand in loose formation outside the Simpsonville Baptist Church. They stood quietly and respectfully during the funeral of Justin Whitmire. (No smoking or cell phones, conversation kept to whispers.) And then, as the honor guard departed, the bikers lined Main Street (Highway 14) in Simpsonville, holding American flags aloft. The phalanx on both sides of the road was impressive, as the Patriot Guard provided an escort for the funeral procession.

The line of people stretched for miles, all the way to the cemetery. It was astounding.

The infamous Fred Phelps and his equally infamous Westboro Baptist Church was nowhere to be seen, although they had threatened to picket Whitmire's funeral. There were copious rumors they had already arrived in the upstate, including (if you heard my radio show this morning) a local sighting at Walmart. I had heard of the Patriot Guard and knew they were attending, but I had no idea there would be so many of them. The rumble of thousands of Harley-Davidsons in downtown Simpsonville, echoing off the old buildings, sounded like the engines revving at Talladega. (Apparently, this is one way they drown out Westboro's noise, when they confront them.)

It is puzzling to me (to say the least) that WBC continues their evil deeds. Nobody likes them. Nobody agrees with them. Certainly, nobody appreciates their picketing of grieving veteran families. They are mostly a grim and disturbing sideshow, at this point. This morning on my radio show, we discussed at length why they continue these bizarre shenanigans... and it was during this conversation that one of my callers used the word ASSHOLE, the first cuss-word on my show to date (unless you count "dumb-asses"--and I don't). I'm just glad *I* wasn't the one to say it!

(Yes, it took Westboro Baptist Church to finally break the no-cussing rule on The Daisy Deadhead Show.)

Apparently, WBC makes money every time they open their whack-ass mouths. SOMEBODY must be buying what they are selling, since they continue to travel all over the country for these anti-veteran protests. In fact, they are majorly lawyered up, so one of their shakedowns is goading people into hitting or hurting them, and then suing them for damages and denial of their civil rights, etc.

The way the Patriot Guard stood so firmly and with such dignity, was heartening. Many of them were wearing Christian-oriented biker wear, and I realized, they feel responsible for confronting WBC as Christians. They will not let these people do this nasty stuff in the name of Christianity, at least not without their own Christian witness alongside them. I have a great deal of respect for that.

They were beautiful.

I am so happy that Justin's family had such dignified, dedicated escorts for their son. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time.

Photos below--as always, you can click to enlarge. My dastardly camera-battery ran down before the Highway 14 formation, but at least you get an idea of how many folks turned out.

The radical transformation of a moment of fear and hate, into a display of respect, solidarity and love, is a lesson we all can learn.

~*~










19 comments:

Gregg Jocoy said...

I am so glad you found the kids with the Pride flag. I told them I was proud of them for standing up for themselves. They told me that they were planning to not take the flag and an older woman...probably my age...told them to bring it. "This is about love, not hate. bring it." and they did. Missed you though...guess we got our signals crossed.

JoJo said...

I love that picture that Gregg refers to as well. The WBC is soooo evil.

Anonymous said...

This funeral was an impressive show of passion for our fallen soldiers as well as all our veterans. I was proud to be in the number of attendees. This soldiers life, his family and his friends are NOT to be disrespected. I have great pride in my fellow Americans who came out to show their appreciation for the sacrifice that Pfc. Whitmire has made and his entire family has felt. I am proud of the support he received from the Occupy movement. What this soldier was doing is not what we, the 99%, are seeking to change in our nation. Corporate greed is still our focus, and we are pleased if we can show some respect, some love and some patronage as we continue our peaceful struggle to help those Americans who need help the most. All of the Occupy who were present were willing to stand up against this Westboro foe, in person, in spirit and we appreciate your radio show, you and Gregg, lending a voice to sanity in an otherwise chaotic world. Sometimes people with evil hearts like those of Westboro bring out the worst in human nature - sorry I said 'asshole' on your radio show, but when dealing with Westboro, the term was applicable.

West said...

Good post Daisy...

Westb said...

So this guy anonymous refers to corporate greed. Doesn't this guy know that corporate greed is actually corporate profit? Corporate profit is necessary for the pension funds os little old ladies, and old men. Why does he hate little old women. Does he think that only rich people benefit from corporate profits? How dumb of him. If he hate the little old ladys, then he is an asshole!

Kristine Holden said...

I have shared links to this post EVERYWHERE... Daisy, you out did yourself with this one... it's really profound

Anonymous said...

Corporate greed is not about profit. Every person who consumes anything has a need for profit. Corporate greed in this article refers to the ELIMINATION of pension funds for little ol ladies and ol men, as you call it.
Corporate greed refers to corporations financing political campaigns and ingratiating law makers with gifts and monetary donations so that their opinion means much more to the politician than anything you or I think. Politicians are bought by corporations and foreign nations. Do you trust a politician who accepts money from a million dollar corporation? Does he/she have any allegiance to you at all? Do you trust a politician who accepts donations from foreign nations? Does he/she have any allegiance at all to this nation? These types of donations are not a contribution, but an investment. SOLD OUT!

DaisyDeadhead said...

Kristine, thank you so much!

West, check the rules above: no insults or you can take it elsewhere. I don't like to start deleting, but I will if you continue.

Godisgoodalways said...

Thousands gathered to honor this soldier and his family as a tribute to his willingness to serve and defend the freedoms we so often abuse. Let's not forget that we are at war and his death along with others were at the the hands of godless muslim bastards! Praise God that I have been saved by Grace in Jesus Christ or there would be much blood, hear the gospel!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, it was shared to me by my neice. I am proud of those who stood by this family in their time of need, allowing them to lay their child to rest with honor, dignity and respect.

LOL tried to figure out how to post this comment with my name and it is just beyond my power of understanding.

Angela Clark said...

I was at this funeral. My nephew was best friends with Justin, and me and my husband went to school with Justins mom and uncle. When we all started rolling in yesterday around 9 am (the funeral was at 1) we knew that we were gonna protect them from any and all signsof these "nuts" and as the Captain of the ride ( Bill Hopkins) said we will protect them with... RESPECT DIGNITY AND HONOR!! That is what we did..If you would like to look me up on FB I have several pics and videos from our ride...Walk with God PFC Justin Whitmire your sacrifice will NEVER be forgotten...

thene said...

This is an awe-inspiring show of love and strength.

Godisgoodalways: Someone can't be both godless and a Muslim. Pick one.

Kristine Holden said...

LMBO, correct thene

DaisyDeadhead said...

Okay, yall, if I have executed this correctly, it will link to the Greenville News photo gallery of the event.

If I haven't, it will say "pay to look at these pictures!"

Kristine Holden said...

MUST READ... about how one town stopped WBC
http://www.ihatethemedia.com/a-simple-way-to-stop-westboro-baptist-church-funeral-protesters

Carolyn said...

Kudos! Thank you for standing up for truth, goodness, justice, decency, and everything we hold dear in America. God bless you!

dano said...

As a Patriot Guard Rider....we care the most about our soldiers .. all they want is attention and we dont give it. Please no more post about them !!!

Jerry Dennis said...

I have the utmost respect for our fallen heroes and the PGR for protecting the families from the WBC, but I hate when others use a forum like this to spew their own political views. Folks, no one cares! We're here to pay tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. If you want to soapbox about other subjects, there are millions of other sites where you can do that. Rest in peace, Justin.

sheila said...

Ahhhhh. I really don't like them at all. I don't hate anyone, but that's about as close as it can get for me. Great post Daisy! I've seen them showing up at funerals and yeah... I mean WHO supports this? Must be someone or are they just that goofy to go all over doing this?

No respect whatsoever. What a warped form of Christianity. And really, really, sad. I'm so glad everything turned out great, I really enjoyed seeing your photos, it's a beautiful thing.