Wow! We had a busy weekend, thus the reason I am just able to get back online. I didn’t want to go without first writing about the funeral we attended Friday in Troup, Texas for my cousin, Sgt Samuel E. Kelsey. It was overwhelming, to say the least!
When we arrived, we walked in through a line of Patriot Guard riders standing in silence holding flags in honor of our fallen soldier. Once inside a standing room only filled church, we heard from not only the pastor, but a US Congressman and an Army Official (I apologize that I didn’t get names … it was a bit emotional). The military pallbearers were amazing to watch as they marched in their formation. We filed out into our LONG LINE of cars and proceeded to the cemetery.
As we left the church and turned onto the main highway through town, we were welcomed by what must of been the entire town, showing their respect as they lined the streets in silence. Many held small flags, took off their hats, held their hands over their hearts and wiped away tears as we made our way to Sam’s final resting place. It filled our hearts to see the out pour of support for Sam.
Once we arrived at the cemetery, there was the Patriot Guard awaiting our arrival … again standing in silence in honor of Sam. The casket was marched in and everyone watched in silence as the 21 gun salute was performed and Taps was played. The pallbearers then began folding the flag draped on Sam’s casket and presented it to his mom. One last good-bye and then his body was laid to rest. Sam died a hero — he went back to assist another soldier when he lost his own life — and he was truly given a Hero’s Farewell. The resounding theme of the funeral was simply this:
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
Here is the local TV report:
East Texans Come Together Over Troup Soldier’s Death
As the church bell tolls and among a sea of patriotic flags, hundreds of East Texans come to say goodbye to their hero. U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert was among those paying their respects.
“God gave a gift to Troup Texas, and to this country and to the world,” said Congressman Gohmert.
Finding a little strength, Sam’s mother said her only child was her greatest gift.
“I’ve never loved anyone in my life like I loved my son, my every breath, completely filling my heart and my soul.”
Friday, the U.S. Army presented the Kelsey family with several medals, including the purple heart for his bravery. Sam Kelsey died trying to save another friend and fellow soldier.
“Sergeant Sam Kelsey, my baby boy to me, had compassion, love, loyalty, and a special passion for life,” said Denina Kelsey.
“The world is a better place for him having been in it and we will always honor and revere his memory,” said Congressman Gohmert.
It was with full military honors that Sergeant Kelsey was laid to rest in his hometown of Troup.
“This is a sad time for all of us,” said Bill Watkins, Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders of Texas.
Patriot Guard riders stand out of respect and observance of his sacrifice.
“The military’s just not a job you go to without hazards,” said Watkins. “They put themselves in harms way and it brings everybody together.”
A cherished son, valiant soldier and friend, and forever a hero.
“Live with him, smile for him, he will walk with us every day,” said Denina Kelsey.
Courtney Lane, Reporting [email protected]