Monday, May 28, 2007

Daniel Courneya laid to rest

It was about the only sound you could hear in Nashville Friday night-- the rumble of the Patriot Guard Riders, arriving by the dozen to remember 19-year-old Private First Class Daniel Courneya, who was killed in Iraq May 12.

But outside his memorial service it was virtually silent, many standing in disbelief that their friend, classmate and loved-one is no longer with them.

"He was my first love," says Courneya's classmate and former girlfriend Amanda Rumsey. "I loved his personality. He was so outgoing and fun."

It seemed everyone at the funeral had something to share about the young soldier. But even more remarkable, perhaps, was how many people showed up who had never met the young man.

A group of military parents drove up from Grand Rapids out of sheer respect for the soldier and his family.

"[Reading the news] just makes you stop breathing," says Shirley Bultema, whose son Jordan is in the same division Courneya was in. "You have to wonder why it was Daniel and not your own son who died."

"We've never met Daniel, but every man and woman who serves for our country is like a child to you," says Nedra Hunt, mother of two Marines. She, her husband and Shirley and Rick Bultema all say they felt compelled to come to the funeral.

And as the families headed into the funeral, they couldn't help but think of Courneya's fellow soldiers stil fighting in Iraq.

"I think the greatest way to honor Daniel is for him to know we're supporting his comrades."

Comrades for whom Memorial Day now has new meaning.

From WILX 10

Related Link:
Daniel W. Courneya dies 'of wounds suffered when his patrol was attacked by enemy forces using automatic fire and explosives'