A young Marine returned home today for the last time.
The body of Corporal Donald Marler was flown into Lambert Airport this afternoon. We had a photographer at the airport so I headed down to the Pestalozzi overpass near the AB / In-Bev brewery. Marler's mother is a long-time employee at the brewery. The procession carrying Marler's body would pass by the brewery.
It was quite a sight. Hundreds of supporters were there on the overpass. Many were carrying flags. A Clydesdale horse was brought out from the brewery. The St. Louis Fire Department had two of its trucks with a giant American flag strung in between the ladders. Several police officers were there blocking off the overpass.
As the group of supporters waited, several cars traveling down the interstate honked their horns to show their support as well. When the procession came by it was led by the Patriot Guard Riders. The procession was driving at perhaps 40mph as it went under the overpass. People stood with their hands over their hearts. Firefighters and police officers saluted. The flags waved.
A family friend said that Marler knew when he was in high school that he wanted to be a Marine. He also wanted to teach and train other Marines but he needed combat experience. He was killed in his first combat deployment. It was a vehicle accident but that's all we know about it right now. Two other marines died in the crash as well.