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Army Corporal Jacob Carver died in action in Afghanistan on November 13, 2010. He was from Freeman, Missouri. His funeral was held in Harrisonville, Missouri today.

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas had stated their intent to protest at the funeral (we’ve covered them in the past). The community around Harrisonville, Missouri stated their intent to shield the funeral from that protest.

The American President (1995)

….America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours….

I drove into Harrisonville from the north on Highway 7, arriving at about 8:30 a.m. The location for the funeral, Our Lady-Lourdes Catholic Church, is on the highway. As I drove past the church there were already hundreds of people, dressed for the cold, many holding American flags, lining both sides of the highway. I drove about a half mile beyond the church and parked in a shopping center parking lot.

I walked back toward the church.

The crowd lining the highway near the church was a mix of young and old. Their demeanor was respectful – most engaged in quiet conversation. Some appeared curious as I took photographs, though when they saw my identification they went back to their conversations. They were unfailingly polite.

Television satellite trucks in the background, parked in the lot at a neighboring church.

There were two helicopters from Kansas City television stations flying over the crowd. A reporter standing with a cameraman in the crowd along the highway smiled at me, probably spotting my identification, as I was taking photographs.

After taking photographs of the crowd near the church I walked back toward my parked car. About halfway there, at Elm and Mechanic, the Westboro group was surrounded by large crowd of people.

Two huge American flags were displayed at the corner of Elm and Mechanic (Highway 7), about a quarter mile from the church.

There was more of a circus atmosphere around the Westboro group. The crowd surrounding them was vocal. Apparently, at one point, there was a scuffle:

…There appeared to have been some shoving between some of the protesters and church members.

Police were able to break up the incident. At one point, the van belonging to Westboro members was surrounded. But they were able to leave the area without any further confrontation…

You can barely see the Westboro group’s signs.

As I made it back to the shopping center where I parked my car law enforcement stopped traffic to make way for the funeral procession. In those few minutes while I waited to cross the highway I spoke with an individual holding an American flag. He told me he was there because his grandson is a Marine – he was doing this for him. I almost replied, “You’re doing this for yourself, too.”

The funeral procession about a half mile from the church.

As we continued our conversation I stated, “Maybe the good thing is that good people showed up today to speak out.” That’s a start.

As the procession approached and passed a state trooper saluted and held his salute.