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.