On Saturday, November 13, 2010 I made the trip from DFW to McAlester, OK to attend the funeral of another fallen soldier, Army Sgt. Jason McCluskey. While I try to attend any local funeral I can, this one was a little further than normal but I felt it was important to be there since there were supposed to be “protestors” there to offend the family, town and get publicity. Everyone knows who these inbred nutbags are, so I will not mention their name here to give them more publicity. They did show up and were dealt with by the locals and chose to leave before the funeral started. God bless the locals!
Here is a quick video of how the town reacted, if you want to see them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpHTP7mmJTE
Here are my observations of the funeral of Sgt. Jason McCluskey, KIA November 4, 2010 in Afghanistan.
According to news reports there were approximately 200 relatives and friends inside the church and there were several hundreds more lined up and down the downtown streets near the church. There were approximatley 200 motorcycles and riders from various motorcycle groups; Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, BACA MC, Outlaws MC (Oklahoma) and many others. Once the funeral was concluded, the PGR lead trucks and the 200 or so motorcycles lined up through the middle of downtown to escort Sgt. McCluskey and his family to the cemetary which was approximlatey 10 miles away. I wasn’t looking at my watch, but I am guessing the procession took approximately 1 hour and we saw hundreds (if not over 1,000) people lined up the entire route holding American flags and signs honoring Sgt. McCluskey. There is nothing quite like small town America turning out for one of their own. Once we arrived at the cemetary there were probably another 100 or so people lined up at the entrance to pay their respects to Sgt. McCluskey and the family.
At the cemetary, the bikers and others in attendance, stood a flag line silently while Sgt. McCluskey was carried by the U.S. Army Honor Guard from Fort Sill, OK to the gravesite. Sgt. McCluskey’s father related the last telephone conversation he had with his son and how it had ended with his son laughingly telling him he was an “ass” because he was giving him a hard time about not being a Marine like he and his grandfather were before hime and then each saying “I love you”. After all the words were said, the travelling Liberty Bell rang several times and then the 21 gun salute began, followed by the playing of Taps and the fading bagpipes.
When the funeral was over everyone picked up the dozens of large American flags that were all around the cemetary and stowed them away for the next mission. We departed, some by themselves and some in groups to head back home. We leave with a heavy heart that we have lost another of America’s finest and bravest, but knowing that we did our part, in a small way, in honoring his life and protecting the family from further attack by a very small group of evil.
God bless Sgt. McCluskey’s familiy and battlemates who are still serving on the front lines as he is laid to rest. Again, I hope to never need to be called upon to honor another fallen American hero, but I will be ready if called.
Jason’s official obituary: http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=745373&fh_id=11576&s_id=008D5E31-E0CA-1FE5-E94F88CFB8BB0AC3
A news report about the funeral services for Sgt. McCluskey:
A news report about Sgt. McCluskey:
And, finally a quick video of the sounds and a few images of the funeral (no soundtrack or post production, just raw video from a camera hanging around my neck).
Finally, a video from the roof of the First Baptist Church.