Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 6, 2012

Cheers & Jeers: Oct. 6, 2012

Homecoming fit for a king

Clee R. Oliver, Indiana Patriot Guard assistant senior ride captain, sends this Cheer to the Kokomo and Howard County community for their support of Sgt. Bradley Atwell:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Kokomo and Howard County for their tremendous support and respect given to the family of Sgt. Bradley Wayne Atwell, USMC, who lost his life at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, on Sept. 14, 2012.

“I and Ron Coleman, state captain with the Indiana Patriot Guard, were privileged to escort Sgt. Atwell from the flight line of Grissom AFRB to Chapel Hill Christian Church. Along the route were many, many individuals waving American flags; individuals with their hand over their hearts, and small children saluting as the hearse with Sgt. Atwell, vehicles with his wife, Danielle, and the rest of the family passed by.

“At many locations along U.S. 31, walls of people stood reducing the southbound two-lane highway to one lane as the escort proceeded. Undoubtedly, people who did not even know what was happening stopped their vehicles blocking the northbound lane to a stand-still to show honor and respect for the nearly 250 motorcycles, law enforcement, and Sgt. Atwell’s family.

“At Taylor High School, where Sgt. Atwell graduated, students stood, too, with American flags honoring Sgt. Atwell as well as children in front of St. Joan of Arc Church. Chrysler employees, shoppers at the malls, restaurant establishment employees and patrons came to the streets; and fire departments emptied their firehouses to stand at attention for this fallen hero.

“Kokomo and Howard County citizens, over the last 30-plus years as evident with the Vietnam veterans reunion, have shown we are a military-supporting community. The outpouring support from this community has not gone unnoticed. Capt. Markus Trouerbach with the USMC, responsible for the logistics of Sgt. Atwell’s services in Kokomo, said, ‘In my 20-plus years in the Marine Corps, I’ve attended and organized many memorials/funerals. Thanks to your efforts, this was, by far, my most memorable experience I’ve ever encountered. It’s because of patriots like yourselves that America is what it is today..

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