3,000 Show Up to Honor Pfc. Thomas Tucker, an Oregon Hero

Up to 3,000 attended the public Memorial Service this afternoon in Madras, Oregon for Army Pfc. Thomas Tucker who along with Pfc. Kristian Menchaca was slaughered by terrorists after they were kidnapped at a check point in Iraq.

Update: 3,500 showed up.

The family of slain U.S. Army Private First Class Thomas Lowell Tucker, his father Wesley (R, in tan shirt), his mother Margaret (at left of Wesley) and his sister Tayva, watch as the casket passes at a memorial service for Tucker in Redmond, Oregon, July 1, 2006. Tucker was captured and brutally killed by insurgents in Iraq. (REUTERS)

The public memorial service for Army Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras was moved today into the main exposition hall at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond to accommodate up to 3,000 people expected to gather.

About 150 law enforcement personnel and emergency responders from agencies throughout Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties were working at the service to direct traffic and control the crowd.

Dozens of volunteers from the Redmond Veterans of Foreign Wars post and its Ladies Auxiliary handed out 3,000 bottles of donated water as people arrived for the memorial. They also offered drinks and sandwiches to 250 family members, police and military guests.

“We’ve had almost every grocery story in Central Oregon donate,” said Dianne Guthrie, a coordinator with the Ladies Auxiliary. “There’s been a tremendous coming together of all of Central Oregon to rally around this family.”

Volunteer groups put up 750 flags, normally displayed on holidays, throughout Redmond to honor Tucker, said Dennis Guthrie of Redmond’s VFW.

As family, friends and supporters entered the hall, bouquets of flowers sat by a lectern and piano and a black hearse was parked on the floor.

Margaret and Wesley Tucker, the parents of slain U.S. Army Private First Class Thomas Lowell Tucker, are consoled after being presented with the flag from the casket by Brigadier General Gregg Martin. (Reuters)

Eight Patriot Guard riders will be at the funeral:

Eight Patriot Guard Riders from the Redding and Sacramento areas will travel about 600 miles to meet other Patriot Guard members in Redmond, Ore., for the funeral of Pfc. Thomas L. Tucker, 25, of Madras, Ore. The Patriot Guard Riders is a national group formed to counter demonstrations or disruptions at veterans’ funerals.

A program for the memorial included a photo of Tucker on the front and a poem inside called “The Eagle”:

The eagle now is truly free
Soaring through eternity
He found his wings and began to climb.
He was yours for but one moment in time.
You cradled him upon your breast
and nurturing him
You were truly blest.
You gave him values beyond measure
He gave you memories to treasure.
And now he soars happy and free
Still yours through all eternity.

Blackfive has the 502nd Infantry Memorial Service video for the three soldiers lost in this attack in Iraq.

Cliff May wonders about this silence over this brutality.

Much more on Private Kristian Menchaca of Houston and Private Thomas Tucker of Oregon here here, and here.

Previous Posts Honoring America’s Heroes:
Ohio Honors Their Heroes
Texas Honors A Hero
Georgia Honors its Heroes
Illinois Honors A Hero
Missouri Honors an Army Hero
Missouri Welcomes Home a War Hero
Utah Welcomes Home a Hero
A New Jersey Hero
After 61 Years, Nevada Honors a War Hero
Patriot Guard Riders Welcome Home TN Hero, Cpl. Rusty Washam
Mount Vernon, Illinois Welcomes Home Its Soldiers and Heroes
Please Help… This US Iraq War Veteran Urgently Needs Assistance
Missouri Hero Marine Lance Cpl. Leon Deraps to be Honored
At 2:00 AM in a Small Missouri Town, Hundreds Wait for a Hero
Small-town Missouri Says Goodbye to Marine Lance Cpl. Deraps
Texan Hero Kristian Menchaca Is Laid to Rest in Brownsville

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