FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – The Patriot Guard, a group of motorcyclists which escorts the caskets of service men and women killed in combat, waited patiently at Meacham Airport for a fallen American to come home. By late afternoon, there were dozens of motorcycles carrying large American flags flapping gently in the hot July breeze.
They were waiting for the arrival of the airplane carrying the body of Sergeant William Moody who was killed during by a Taliban rocket attack in Afghanistan in June.
“It’s never easy,” said Carlton Emmons, spokesman for the Patriot Guard. “But it’s so important for us to remember these young men and women who are overseas any way we can.”
Moody’s family has been separated from their loved one more than most. Moody served two tours of duty in Iraq while he was a U.S. Marine. And he was finishing his second — and last — tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.
Moody’s wife and three children will spend this Fourth of July mourning his loss. It’s a point not lost on Jerry Castillo who’s attended dozens of events like this for the website usfallen.org.
“It gives it a whole different perspective,” Castillo said. “It gives it meaning, a concrete meaning, as to what it is to sacrifice.”
As the flag-draped casket was removed from the plane and gently placed in a waiting, white limousine, several people waited in a nearby parking lot for the procession taking the casket to the funeral home to pass.
Shelley Simpson held an American flag and wore red, white and blue clothes to show her support for the Moody family — just like others did for Simpson when she lost her nephew in combat last year. Several times as she waited, Simpson broke down in tears. The Fourth of July will never be the same for her again.
“The red white and blue, while we were always proud, it’s just so — it’s such an honor to have somebody who supports your country,” Simpson said. “It brings a different meaning to service and commitment.”
Finally, the long procession of motorcycles, cars and a hearse left the airport heading to Greenwood Funeral Home and Cemetery where Moody will be buried this weekend.
Three other soldiers died alongside Moody during the rocket attack in June. In three other cities there will be three other families that will spend this Fourth of July sharing the same, painful sacrifice as Moody’s family.
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