Fallen Soldier Honored in Sun City

This morning, Spc. Eric M. Holke, was honored at Evans Brown Mortuary in Sun City by a guard calling themselves "Patriot Guard Riders&q...

Evans Brown MortuaryThis morning, Spc. Eric M. Holke, was honored at Evans Brown Mortuary in Sun City by a guard calling themselves "Patriot Guard Riders".

Holke died just a week ago, July 15, in Tallil, Iraq, of wounds sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 160th Infantry, California Army National Guard, in Fullerton. Being his death was non-combat related, it's still under investigation.

The Patriot Guard Riders are made up of citizens both veterans and civilians, who provide an honor guard for fallen soldiers. They got their start in October 2005, in response to a radical church group that crashed funeral services for fallen soldiers by heckling the grieving families. These veterans and civilians formed a human shield against the hecklers that guaranteed peace and comfort to the mourners. Since then, the Patriot Guard spread across the country and while their mission is still to provide this human shield, they also come to pay their respects.

In Sun City this morning, there were about 50 such persons on hand to present flags and salutes as Holke's casket was carried in and out of the mortuary.

Jim at Evans Brown MortuaryJim, a resident of Menifee, was one of the locals who came out for the service. "I just wanted to pay my respects for a guy who served our country", said Jim. "It's guys like these who are fighting for our way of life. You gotta just come out and show that you care." Jim is also pictured at the top, standing second from the right.

While most of the people involved with the Patriot Guard didn't personally know Holke, they came out to honor him just as they've done for many other soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. For local residents like Jim, it brings a war half-way around the world home to Menifee.

After the service at Evans Brown Mortuary, Holke's body was carried to Riverside National Cemetery, and followed by a procession of motorcycles adorned with US flags. At the cemetery, shots were fired by a team of riflemen, taps was played, and medals and flags were presented to Holke's wife and parents. After the service, members of the Patriot Guard fell out and headed back to their homes, knowing they'll reconvene again to honor another one of America's fallen heroes.

For more information about the Patriot Guard, you can visit their website...


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