MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – It wasn’t the happy homecoming they wanted, but people came to the McKinney airport anyway – those who knew who Private First Class Cody Board and those who did not.
The young soldier from McKinney was just a week shy of turning 20 when he was killed by a roadside bomb earlier this month in Afghanistan.
“It’s rough, but it’s good to know a lot of people are coming out to support him,” said Russ Harrison, who carried his daughter on his shoulders to see over a crowd of dozens of friends and strangers.
Blake Phillips, 12, called the young soldier a friend, and held an American flag as soldiers recieved his casket. “Just to show my appreciation I had for him,” he said with tears streaming down his face.
Along with an honor guard from Fort Hood, the Patriot Guard Riders came to provide an escort for the soldier, as they have for many who have come before him. “The opportunity to let this family know we appreciate their sacrifice, and we’ll never forget their gift to this nation… it’s important to me,” said John Kammerer, who lead the group of motorcycle riders.
Family and friends said that Board was determined, from a young age, to serve his country, as his father and grandfather did before him. “He was ready to go,” said Belinda Phillips, a family friend.
Though his homecoming was a sad and somber affair, for her, it was a reminder of all he accomplished in such a short life. “I was proud,” said Phillips.