Raeford Police chief Kemp Crumpler estimated between 1000 and 1500 people came to – literally – stand for Sgt. Donna Johnson, the married lesbian soldier, who was killed October 1, in Khost, Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber targeted a joint U.S. – Afghan patrol as they walked through an outdoor market. Supporters, who organized on Facebook, came from across the country to form a human wall to obscure the mourners’ view of protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church. The Kansas based church has a practice of disrupting the funerals of service members with a message that their deaths are God’s judgment on America’s acceptance of homosexuality.
Sgt, Johnson was laid to rest in her hometown of Raeford, North Carolina, with full military honors befitting her sacrifice. The volunteers, including a group of about 175 members of the Army National Guard, and a large group of Marines from Camp LeJeune, formed a wall of flags, and of men and women in crisp military uniforms, to make sure Sgt. Johnson’s wife, Tracy Joe Dice, and her parents and siblings, would not glimpse the Westboro demonstration. Similar counter-protests have been organized at the funerals of fallen soldiers ever since the Supreme Court upheld Westboro’s right to protest at military funerals.
The local ABC affiliate filed this report:
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