On October 4, 2010, Private Cody Board from McKinney, Texas was killed in action in Afghanistan. I do not know Cody or his family. His story caught my attention at a high school football game. His father and brother were there in his honor, only a few days after he died because his high school alma mater dedicated the game to him.
The story doesn’t stop there though. The media reported that a radical group from Kansas, who hates soldiers, was planning to protest at his funeral. They have a record of protesting at soldiers’ funerals and travel wherever they can to disrupt memorial services. On Facebook, a counter-protest was organized to show support for the family and the deceased soldier.
My heart told me I needed to be there, not from a counter-protest reason, but because if it were my son or daughter that had died, I would want privacy to grieve and say good-bye without experiencing anger and protest. Because it spread so quickly through Facebook, on Saturday morning, a large crowd turned out for support and protection for the family. McKinney residents, off-duty police, citizen patrols, Patriot Guards (Harley riders who attend veteran’s funerals for support and protection) and even a small group of men dressed in red, white and blue Colonial military uniforms surrounded the church.
Because of the pro-active thinking of one man who put up a page on Facebook, we surrounded the church with people, signs of support, flags and love for the family. I held up ok until the funeral procession left the church. As we watched the cars head out of the church, surrounded by police on motorcycles and the Patriot Guards, I realized the finality of Private Board’s life and the heartbreak of his family. I was comforted to see that people in the funeral procession were grateful we were there and appreciated our support.
I was only one in a crowd that day, however, together we all made a difference. The crowd is a powerful force. Our intention and show of support created a special experience for us as well as the family.
Never underestimate your power as an individual.
By the way, no signs of protestors were seen. I like to think that when they saw that they couldn’t get close to the church because of all of us and the police, that they just went away.
Photos below: People lining the streets, Patriot Riders supporting the family, a group of men dressed up as Colonial soldiers guard the front of the church, and the McKinney mounted police with many other police showed up to protect the family.
Kathy Garland specializes in turning business challenges into opportunities that result in business and personal growth. She hosts a radio show, “The Leader in You” and speaks frequently on business growth and leadership topics. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.