Military funeral planned
A long-lasting tradition will continue Saturday as the body of military police officer Brandon Williams, killed in Iraq, will be laid to rest.
A 21-gun salute, a bugler playing “Taps” and flag offering to Williams’ parents will mark the military funeral for the fallen soldier who was killed by sniper fire in Baghdad on Oct. 9.
The service will be punctuated with a motorcade involving several law enforcement agencies, specifically South Lake Tahoe Police Department, where Williams’ father, Brad, and uncle, Brian, are sergeants.
“It will be just like if you see it on TV,” said Gary Jensen, manager of Fitzhenrys Funeral Home in Carson City. “It will be very professional, very well done.”
Williams’ brother, Justin, is a Marine assigned as a ceremony marcher at Arlington National Cemetery. Williams hoped to follow his family’s footsteps into law enforcement. He was in his first tour of Iraq and expected to return on leave next month.
“It’s going to be pretty significant, I think,” Brian Williams said. “It’s going to be a very honoring tribute.”
Besides family, friends and community members, Williams’ funeral might be attended by a group of Kansas-based protesters who might be drowned out by affiliates with the motorcycle group, Patriot Guard Riders.
The protesters are tied to a Baptist church in Kansas that decries the deaths of servicemembers killed overseas, believing it was God’s will they died because they sinned.
Alan Morse, a minister with the First Baptist Church of South Lake Tahoe, denounced the extremist group.
“I think as an American citizen and Vietnam War veteran I feel highly offended,” he said.
Morse said the church has been receiving aggressive phone calls from people who believe the First Baptist Church has ties to the group.
Believing terrorists are behind the extremist group, Morse said he feels “disgusted” about the group’s cause.
“I’m not here to defend the Baptist church but I am here to defend the Christian cause,” Morse said.
Brian Williams said the family recognizes the Baptist church and extremist group are two different entities.
Williams’ grave will rest in the veterans’ section of the East Side Memorial Park in Minden.
His life will also be memorialized in a monument dedicated to veterans in Placerville. Although all the roughly 1,000 bricks, which will be engraved with soldiers names, were sold out, the founder of the memorial used the last available one to etch Williams’ name.
“I felt so bad for him,” said Rich Buchanan, founder of the memorial, after talking with Brad Williams.
Buchanan, a Marine who received the Navy Cross for his service, has been to his share of military funerals.
“It’s all according to tradition and in that tradition there is a certain solace,” he said.
An open casket public viewing of Williams will be held Friday at Fitzhenrys Funeral Home at 833 North Edmonds Drive in Carson City from 6 to 8 p.m.
On Saturday morning a motorcade will escort Williams’ body to Douglas High School where services will commence at 11 a.m. followed by a graveside service at the East Side Memorial Park in Minden.