Monday, July 02, 2007

Tony Hebert laid to rest

LAKE CITY -- Tony Hebert felt compelled to join the military after 9/11, his father said as they prepared to bury him Monday afternoon.

His father, Bob Hebert, said his son Tony, an avid golfer, wanted to "step up to the tee" and serve in the military.

Tony Hebert, 19, was deployed to Iraq in August, 2006. He was killed Thursday, June 21, in combat.

About 800 mourners filed into St. Mary's Catholic Church in Lake City, about an hour and a half southeast of the Twin Cities, for his funeral this morning. About 250 men and women from local and regional American Legion posts VFW posts and the Patriot Guard stood outside the church holding American flags.

"He would appreciate this deeply, but he would be embarrassed," Bob Hebert said. "He was very, very proud to be a soldier."

Tony Hebert, who would have turned 20 on June 30, is also survived by his mother, and two sisters.

Bystanders lined city streets waving American flags as Hebert's procession headed toward Lakewood Cemetery. His graduation class draped trees, signposts and lightposts with yellow ribbons.

Across town flags were at half-staff and some business had signs that said "Freedom rings. Thank you, Tony," to honor Hebert.

"I don't know him...but you just need to show respect, " said Margo Barstad of Lake City as she stood along the route, clutching a flag.

It was a common theme throughout the day in the river town of 5,300 people.

Larry Kilngsporn said he came out because his brother in law was killed in the Vietnam War and received little recognition.

Observing hundreds of flags waving outside St. Mary's Catholic Church, he said, "That's what America's all about."

Hebert's funeral dampened discussion of the war.

His father asked the media not to ask political questions. And residents were equally wary.

"It's hard to put your feelings out when someone's being buried," Kilngsporn said.

"My thoughts are my own," said Tom Kennedy as he watched the procession with Kilngsporn.

"It's a sad day is what it is, for the town and for the country," Kennedy said.

Several residents said they hoped Hebert's sacrifice would raise awareness about current affairs and give the upcoming July 4th Holiday more meaning.

"It'll be more than just a picnic," Kennedy said of the holiday.

About a dozen businesses closed for a few hours during and after the funeral service.

Services and internment ended just before 1 p.m. with a 21-gun salute and a bugler's mournful "Taps."

From the Star Tribune

Related Link:
Anthony D. Hebert dies 'of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'