Thursday, October 20, 2011

Said My Good By to Lnc Cpl Scott 'Boots' Harper

Today I had a moving experience.  I wasn’t supposed to, but I had to.  I was supposed to take my nephew, David, to the doctor for his weekly assessment, but I change the date so I could be there.

You see, Lance Corporal Scott Daniel “Boots” Harper came home today.  Boots was killed on Oct. 13 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.  He had been there for four months.

He was raised in the Douglas County area and returned to his home along with a Marine Honor Guard and passed many, many well-wishers who line the roads from Charlie Brown Airport to the funeral home. 

I went to C.B.A to await the arrival of his pane.  I couldn’t get close, and I only have a cheap-ass camera, so I apologize for quality of the pictures.

The plane finally arrived.

Once the plane stopped on the tarmac, it was surrounded by an honor guard of friends, vets and disabled vests and the Patriot Guard.

As they were moving the casket from the plane to the hearse (I couldn’t see this happening) I drove out on the road leaving the airport.  I saw this and went over to talk to the guys.  They told me GA Power had their bucket trucks lined up all along the route, several miles.

I stayed there to watch the procession.  It was headed up by twenty-four Cobb and Douglas County Motor Cycles followed by at least a hundred Cobb, Douglas and Fulton County cop cars.  Then the hearse arrived and this was the only picture I could take because I snapped to attention and gave a hand-salute as Scott passed by, along with his Marine Honor Guard, family and close friends.

Then the procession was followed by a couple hundred Patriot Guard bikers.  I snapped too and gave them a salute, too.  Quiet tiring on an old man’s arm and hand.  But it was no were near the pain his family suffered.

After they passed, I made a fast U-Turn and hit I-20 for a fast ride to Douglasville to meet some high school friends who were lining the street waiting on Scott’s arrival.

Again, I had to take a fast picture due to the hand-salute thing.

And the Patriot Guard came through, but was much lowder this time because of the buildings.  Music to my ears, too.

The funereal home area was too crowded for me to get there and take some pictures.  But then, it should have been more respectful there and not a side show.  I am just glad I got to see him pass by.

I have to say, though, the whole experience was quiet moving.  I even noticed my eyes sweating a couple of times.  It must have been the exhausts from the bikers.  But it had to be done.  Scott gave his all so that I could stand there with thousands of others without fear.  The least I could do was stand there and shed a tear or two.

Thank you, Boots.  Semper Fi and RIP.


The Reckmonster said...

God bless his family and may everyone be grateful for CPL Harper's sacrifice. I'm glad you were able to go, Coffey...I know you passed along respects on behalf of us who couldn't be there physically. What an awesome sight to see that everyone turned out for him like that...I hope it is like that for every single servicemember who makes that sacrifice.

Suz said...

Thank you Coffeypot. I'm glad you could go. Those are pretty decent photos, and it appears that the citizens paid tribute beautifully. It makes me cry just thinking about it. He was an honorable young man, a beautiful boy. I just can't get past that.

I'm glad you were there.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

A son is a medic recently home from Kandahar. He often was part of the "Transport Detail" taking the coffins to the aircraft. He tells me this was done to the highest military standards. He and his fellow medics made sure the process was dignified, start to finish. Usually, there would be representatives from Allies, bands, flag officers, etc. Least we can do for the fallen; a proper respectful transport and burial of the remains.

Steve: The Lightning Man said...

Welcome home, Boots. Semper Fi.

Beau's Mom said...

Poor Scott, and his family. So sad, so soon, and so far away from home.

But thank God for the Cobb and Douglas County Motor Cycles.

There's so many piss-ant people now, ready with their placards, who WANT to show up for military funerals waving their anti-military signs, when it's the MILITARY who fought for the freedom they so heartlessly use.

LOLA said...

Thank you for telling us about it, my love. My eyes are sweating too.


Sarge Charlie said...

God speed young man, we will not forget you or your service. God will try to ease the pain that my friend Coffee and his family feel.

Maxwell said...

That really is one hell of a story. Thanks for sharing it and your perspective!

Julie said...

What a wonderful post. God Speed, Boots. Thank you for your sacrifice for our country.

dc said...

Thank you for sharing. What an honor to be present that day to give that salute. We can always count on you to help us remember and give thanks.

ParachuteCutie said...

Thank you for being there to welcome this Hero home. I know it meant the world to his family.

And thank you for sharing this with us. I hope your post finds its way to people who have no clue about the sacrifices of our amazing men and women in uniform.

Having attended a "welcome home" myself I know how moving and gut wrenching it is. Not easy at all even if you don't know the Hero personally. But, as Americans it is our duty to honor them all.

I am grateful to you John.

May CPL Harper rest in peace for eternity and may we ALWAYS REMEMBER his sacrifice for us.