Hundreds line funeral route for SC Guardsman killed in Afghanistan
The horse drawn caisson transporting 1st Lt. Ryan Davis Rawl arrives for funeral services at Saxe Gotha Presbyterian church Saturday, June 30, 2012, in Lexington, S.C. Rawl was one of three South Carolina National Guardsmen killed in action in Afghanistan on June 20, 2012.
The (Columbia, S.C.) State
Hundreds of people stood shoulder to shoulder Saturday morning on a mile-long stretch of U.S. 378 in Lexington to pay respects to 1st Lt. Ryan Rawl, one of three S.C. National Guard soldiers being buried this weekend.
Rawl's casket was carried to Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church in a caisson pulled by two white horses. A troop of Richland County Sheriff’s deputies led the procession, and they were followed by bagpipers, Rawl’s family and a military honor guard.
Along the sidewalks, people from all walks of life held American flags and posters expressing their gratitude for Rawl's service. Workers in businesses along the route paused from their jobs, joined by Boy Scouts, bikers, military veterans and others.
Rawl's funeral service lasted a little more than an hour, with S.C. National Guard officials presenting the family Rawl’s service medals. A host of dignitaries attended, among them U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and Maj. Gen. David Livingston, the state’s adjutant general.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, along with one of Rawl’s classmates from The Citadel, gave eulogies.
“Rawl was a good soldier and a great deputy,” Lott said.
Following the 10 a.m. service, mourners headed to the cemetery in Pelion. Scattered along the 23-mile route were a boys’ baseball team, church members, bikers, veterans, area residents and others, watching the procession pass.
Rawl was one of three S.C. National Guard soldiers killed June 20 by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Five other soldiers were injured. All eight were part of the 133rd Military Police Company, nicknamed the Palmetto Regulators, based in Timmonsville.
Sgt. John David Meador II also was being buried Saturday, with a 10 a.m. service at SeaCoast Church, 500 St. Andrews Road, and burial, with full military honors at Fort Jackson National Cemetery on Percival Road. Services for Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Bradford Thomas, 30, of Easley are set for Sunday.
Distributed by MCT Information Services