By Danny Calhoun Columnist
I recently attended the funeral services for SFC. Larry Gene Kiers, a US Soldier killed in action while serving our country. The services were held in his home town Owensville, Kentucky.
The scene was one we have seen far too often, one we will never get used to, one which rips at our hearts, automatically brings tears to our eyes, brings back memories long forgotten--- but always a part of us. A scene which brings a terrible sense of loss, as we once again say goodbye to one of our nation’s finest. We as a free people can never ask nor expect any more noble and selfless act from one of our own.
A young serviceman has died in a country far from home, serving the country he loved so much, sacrificing his life so that others may live in peace.
This young man is being returned home to be buried with honors reserved for our nation’s truest heroes. Final honors to say thank you by a grateful nation as this young soldier is laid to rest, to finally find peace, in the soil of the country he fought and died for. He will always remain in the hearts, souls and memories of those who knew and loved him and those who respect and honor his service and supreme sacrifice.
But those present soon realized that this service was different. For on this day the quiet streets of Owingsville are suddenly filled with the awesome sound of “thunder.” A sound which overwhelms all else. The sound is coming from a group of over a hundred motorcycles and almost 100 other vehicles. They are ridden/driven by members of, Rolling Thunder, Project Omega Of Kentucky and other veterans support groups. Each of these motorcycles and vehicles is proudly displaying an American Flag and POW MIA Flag. The license plates on these motorcycles or vehicles reveal they are from several different states and almost all counties in Kentucky. Each of them is ridden or driven by a man or woman with a combined look of respect, reflection, pride, honor and loss on their faces, mixed with the tears flowing from their eyes.
These dedicated men and women, many of whom rode hundreds of miles to be there, are there on a shared mission. The most noble of missions, to “bring a brother home.” A “brother” who died doing a job he believed in. The group all share the same thought, “Never Forget.” It makes no difference that none of them had ever met SFC. Larry Gene Kier.
Sgt. Larry Gene Kier had been Killed In Action almost 40 years ago in Vietnam. He had been listed as Missing In Action until recently, when his remains were found, identified and brought home where his friends, family and loved ones can know he is at peace and, if possible, finally find some sense of closure for their loss.
As I stood at the final resting place of my “Brother and Comrade ” my heart filled with my private thoughts and memories of other “Brothers” lost
As the service ended and the air filled with the haunting sounds of Taps being played, I prayed that God find a special place of peace for SFC. Larry Gene Kier, I prayed that God bless and lead his family, loved ones and friends so that they may also find peace. I prayed that all our missing brothers be brought home. I thanked God for creating such men as SFC. Larry Gene Kier, who like so many others , before and after him, willingly place pride, service, honor and a devout love of their country, above self, and have gone into harm's way to prove that love. I prayed that God protect our brothers and sisters who are now in harm's way, carrying on the legacy of SFC. Larry Gene Kier, and all those who have gone before them. I also thanked God for placing such special people as the members of Rolling Thunder, Project Omega and others present, personifying the words “ WE WILL NEVER FORGET.”
Then, just as the sounds of a bagpipe faded into the quietness of a Saturday afternoon and the final tears were still being shed, the sound of “thunder” echoed once more. It to soon faded away as these dedicated men and women moved on, to continue with their mission. What special people they are. Quietness once again settled up on Owingsville, you could see on the faces of those who lived there, those who witnessed this display of brotherhood and love, that they had been a part of and witnessed something very special. Something that would stay with them for ever.
As I stood there I realized that even though we live in a time when many are quick to find fault with our country and criticize those who live by the mores, principles and values of men such as SFC.
Larry Gene Kier, and those present to honor him, there is hope.
Hope, that the hearts of those of our world, who do not understand, and refuse to try, will finally become enlightened to what the “Mission” truly represents.
Rest in peace my “brother and comrade.” Be assured, you will “NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.“ ”
Go in peace and safety my Patriot Guard Rider s brothers and sisters, and all the others who care, as you continue on your most noble of missions. May God bless you.
"Fading light---falling night---
trumpet calls as the sun sinks in flight.
Sleep in peace comrades dear---
God is near."