Over 3 days I had the sad but honorable duty of riding escort for KIA SPC Anthony Blount. This was my second KIA mission, but this time I was able to participate all 3 days instead of just the day of the services. I am thankful that in a weird twist of fate, even though I can no longer drive a big truck, I can still ride my bike and am able to give these Heroes my support and stand a line for them.
Thursday morning around 1020 a small jet landed at the Hattiesburg/Laural Airport with SPC Anthony Blount’s body. This was the first time I have met a plane at the airport and it was so very hard. I stood beside Kim and Wilma and let the tears roll down my face. Kim and I were lucky that our sons came home safe as they can, both suffering from PTSD. But Wilma is a Gold Star Mom and I know this day was very hard on her. We stood there arm in arm to comfort each other as they brought the coffin off the plane with the family standing at the edge of the flight line. I can only imagine their pain and feel a hint of guilt for being thankful for that.
There were 76 bikes there to bring SPC Blount home to his family. Not all were PGR, some were from Camp Shelby and a couple of other motorcycle groups from the area. As we made our way into town and around the High School, I was amazed and thankful to see so many people out on the side of the road to support and honor this Hero and his family. Once again I had to fight the tears as we made our round of the school and the age of the kids there went from High School to the Elementary, younger and younger. At one point I remember seeing a boy scout troop on the side of the road holding the National Flag and saluting. My goggles filled with tears; it made it very hard to see where I was riding.
On Friday night there were about 25 PGR that stood the Flag line during the viewing. Taking turns every 15 minuets for 3 hours we did our best to make sure the family knew that their loved one was honored. Several time family would come out and thank us for being there. My response was always the same, “It is our honor to be allowed to be here.” And that is how I and many other feel. At one point, after standing the line, as Kim and I walked back down to the resting area, SPC Blount’s Aunt stopped us to thank us again. She had flown in from up north and was full of great stories about Anthony. We listened to her talk about Anthony and how he wanted to become a preacher and how surprised she was when he told them he was going into the Army. She was very proud of her nephew and you could tell that she loved him very much.
Saturday morning we gathered again at the Funeral Home, this time to escort SPC Blount’s Â from the funeral home to the church to the cemetery. We had around 80 biles this day. We had the honor of being lead by SPC Blount’s brother-in-law and his cousin rode with my Dad at the end of all the bikes. Once again, the route we took was lined with people showing their love and support. Once at the church, we stood a flag line for the family to enter and then waited for the services to be over.
With my left wrist hurting I decided I would go ahead with two others to the cemetery to help set up the flags and wait for the procession to get there. We set up flags in a U shape around the tent and a few others on the entry road to the cemetery. The the color guard arrived. A few minuets after that, the first of the PGR came rolling in.
I stood there directing them through the route they were to take. Then when the bikes had past, I rendered my honors to SPC Blount and his family.
We then stood a flag line during the grave side service. Ed, our State Capitan presented the family with a flag, a plaque and a bear with a medal for the unborn daughter.
I am so proud to be a part of such a great group of people that now matter where we come from, what our beliefs are, or our political views are, we love, honor and support our Troops. I like many others wish there was no more mission like this to do, but we know better. So as long as there are KIA, Veterans, Troops deploying overseas to combat zones, we will be there to make sure that they know they have loveÂ andÂ support back home. That what they are doing DOES matter and that we DO applicate their sacrifices.
To SPC Anthony Blount: Thank you for you service and making the ultimate sacrifice.
To his family: I can not know your pain, but you are in my prayers. Anthony will NEVER be forgotten by any of us.