Hero of the Week: Weston, Missouri
“We remember,” organizer Rebecca Rooney said with a shrug when she was interviewed. The look on her was one that said “everyone should be doing this,” which was to help organize her town into one of the most awesome displays of patriotism and community respect the United States has seen in a long time.
This weekend a hero by the name of 1st SGT CJ Sadell was buried in Ms. Rooney’s town of Weston, Missouri. Sadell died from wounds suffered in Afghanistan. Weston, a small town right on the Kansas/Missouri border was told that Fred Phelps and his group of, umm, “church members” were going to be protesting the funeral. The Westboro Baptist Church applied for and was granted the appropriate permit to assemble as is their 1st amendment right, the day of the funeral. They also made it clear they were going to show up.
Mrs. Rooney and other members of her community decided that wasn’t acceptable. She took a second to assess the situation and came up with the most effective counter to Westboro’s protests and message of hate: beat them at their own game.
Mrs. Rooney and her fellow town members got to the spot early. With flags, patriotic music, respect and love in their hearts they stood on the very ground that the Westboro folks had planned to protest. They took all the parking spaces close to the site, brought an American flag so large that the hateful signs couldn’t be seen, and took up as much of the space as they could to shield 1st SGT Sadell’s grieving family. Westboro’s people took one look at the town armed with pride and respect and did what cowards do: ran, quickly.
Edmund Burke once wrote that all that was needed for evil to thrive was for good people to do nothing. It’s an overused and sometimes cliché thing to say, but moments like this are a great reminder of the truth inherent in the statement. For a few hours on a Saturday morning a community decided to care about their neighbor. They decided that it was important to honor a man who had sacrificed his life for their freedom and safety and that it was not acceptable for a few people that belong in the loony bin to harm such a man’s family.
It’s also the game plan for stopping nut jobs like Fred Phelps.
“I think they didn’t do their opposition research very well,” Mrs. Rooney “If they knew Weston, it’s a patriotic town.”
Mrs. Rooney, to you and the rest of the town of Weston, Missouri thank you for reminding all of us what happens when a few of the good guys step up to the plate and say “Not in our town.” Thank you for standing up for the troops and for caring and supporting those in your community. Thank you too, for giving others a blueprint on how to keep Westboro Baptist “Church” permanently in Douchebagistan.