Community did itself proud supporting soldier

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2010

I know there is sometimes a stigma on being from this area. I just want to say that I have never been prouder of my community than I was on July 27, 2010, the day a hero, Justin Bradley Allen, was laid to rest.

I had spoken to my sister, Janet, about what we could do for Justin’s family.

The idea of the “Line of Respect” came from this. Elizabeth Melvin got involved and the American Legion from Linnville got us flags.

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The morning of his funeral was a beautiful day. I live in front of the high school so we made a banner, hung flags and ribbons. Then we heard a roaring sound and a lot of motorcycles came into view. It was the Patriot Guard riders. They turned down the street in front of my house.

In a little bit, here came two cruisers and they blocked State Route 243. And here came the motorcycles back, some in front and some in back, with the Allen family in the middle.

I was breathless, the flags on the back of the motorcycles waving and the Guard “protecting the one who protected us.”

What a breathtaking sight!

And then people started showing up and lining the street.

I met a lady, Tonya Crawford, who drove down from Washington Courthouse. She had seen my posting on Facebook and wanted to come and stand with us. I was amazed.

We handed out flags and it was such a reverent feeling.

When the funeral procession began, we all placed our hands on our hearts and then Cookie Wise, who attends church with Elizabeth and me, said we should sing.

So we sang “God Bless America” until the last car left.

It was so wonderful that so many came out to pay their respects to this heartbroken family and pay tribute to Justin.

I am so proud to say I’m from this place. We put our differences and opinions aside to come together as one to say “thanks Justin for your sacrifice.”

God Bless America! Thanks to the Allen family for giving us such a hero. Your loss will forever be felt in our hearts.

Lena Clark

Coal Grove