I'll keep this pretty short and to the point, but I just had to post it in a Diary. Folks here have heard me talk about being a military brat. Living only a few miles from a huge military base. And also that at least where I live, if the Westboro Baptist Church came here to protest a military funeral, well they'd be in for a rude awakening. I know what I speak of! They showed up today .... and I am not sure if other communities do what we did, but I am pretty sure they were not expecting it.
First a little respect for our fellow fallen citizen.
Lance Corporal Nicholas Corzine, brother of Lance Corporal Kenny Corzine, holds Kenny's daughter Macy, as they watch the folding of the flag from Kenny's casket Thursday at Rose Lawn Memory Gardens in Bethalto, IL. Kenny Corzine, 23, passed away at 12:04 p.m. Friday, December 24, 2010 in Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland after being wounded in action in Afghanistan.
A note about Bethalto, IL. It is a fairly small town (9,454) just outside of St. Louis in southern Illinois. Near Wood River, IL where there is a huge oil refinery which employees most of the people in the area. Originally constructed on 336 acres in 1918, the refinery now covers 1,888 acres, and is the largest in the ConocoPhillips system. In fact, if I recall correctly you can smell Wood River in Bethalto.
Blue collar, folks that put in a hard day of work and get their hands dirty.
When the funeral was announced local citizens assumed people from Westboro might show up to protest cause, well they are only a state away basically.
But if they did it would be a first ....
This is strange mainly cause even though Scott Air Force Base is the largest employer in this entire metro area (on the IL side), and literally the transportation and logistical hub for all of the Department of Defense (insert headquarters for TRANSCOM and MAC), we've had only a handful of people from this area die in Iraq or Afghanistan. Westboro had not been here yet for any of those funerals and I've been to two of them.
A Facebook campaign was started to counter protest Westboro. The wonderful folks that set that up, well not sure in their wildest imagination they knew what would happen.
Five individuals from Westboro showed up.
The news reports vary, but they were met by at least 1,000 to maybe more than 1,500 people (local radio station) counter protesting. Not there to attend the funeral, just there to protest Westboro and the help the grieving family mourn their son in as much peace as possible.
They first formed a human wall and then a wall of poster board signs around the entire funeral about eight feet high. The 5 Westboro idiots could not be heard saying their hateful stuff, they were drowned out by singing. They left 15 minutes before the funeral even started.
That is how you deal with these fucking idiots.
Note: I wish I had more details. I wish I had better pictures. But my local paper, the Belleville News Democrat, often to the right of the Washington Times has limited coverage at best. And the St. Louis Post Dispatch in their short, short story doesn't even mention the protest. And these print media outlets wonder why they are losing readership. Wouldn't this be the kind of event if you can't send a reporter, at least send an intern with a $200 digital camera and a $150 flip video camera to get some footage?
Rifleman Kenneth Corzine was out on foot patrol when movement triggered a IED, causing the Lance Corporal to lose his legs and suffer other injuries, according to Bethalto, Illinois media reports. The bomb explosion reportedly injured three other Marines who were also on foot patrol.
His family is still reeling from the news.
"I thought I was going to pass out when I turned around and saw the lieutenant colonel and his entourage. It was very horrible. I don't think we've quit crying in two days," said Kenny's uncle, Mr. Jim Corzine.
Mr. Corzine was quoted in a St. Louis television news report as saying his nephew "had wanted to be a Marine from a young age."
Kenny Corzine enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2007. This was on his first combat deployment. Lance Corporal Corzine was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Pendleton, California.