LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tribute to a fallen hero

Monday, July 23, 2012 | 3:57 p.m. CDT; updated 7:00 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 23, 2012

Never, in all the 78 years of my life, have I seen such a spontaneous outpouring of people who filled the streets and sidewalks for blocks around First Baptist Church for the funeral service of Spc. Sterling Wyatt, native son and fallen hero of Columbia. No dictator had ordered them there, it was not a sports event or national disaster. It was love and gratitude for the sacrifice of this 21-year-old, who gave all for his country, and for his grieving family. It was an act of protection for the grieving family, and of righteous indignation against that nest of vipers from Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., who vowed to ruin the service with their ungodly, vile protest.

Those people wearing red, or holding our American flag, or riding bikes, were not protesters; they were protectors. They are the strong, the committed (some traveling hundreds of miles) —  black or white, tall or short, fat or slim, muscular or frail, young or feeble with age, and everything in-between, and from all religions; they were there to defend the defenseless. They are the American Spirit incarnate; they are righteous indignation in action; "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." And they brought their children, giving them a lesson in what it means to be an American, and for many, a believer.

And a special kind of generosity was there. A man who I have never seen offered me ice water; many came prepared to share with others. I saw small acts of courtesy, of consideration, of kindness in looks exchanged as well as in deeds.  

Spc. Sterling, Saturday was your day; great kings would give half their kingdom for what you were so unstintingly given Saturday by those who were there, and who regret that it will never be enough to equal what you and your family have given a grateful and grieving nation. 

Miss Nan The Elder, circa 1933

Nan C. Collins is a Columbia resident.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Mike Martin July 23, 2012 | 11:30 p.m.

Very nice.

(Report Comment)
Ron Mastin July 24, 2012 | 9:10 p.m.

Miss Nan. Thank you so much for your article. You eloquently summarized the feelings and thoughts of most of those in attendance at this unfortunate event. I say most because the members from Westboro Baptist Church, who were in attendance, do not share your views, but instead, choice to symbolize what is evil in this world. I guess without evil one would not recognize good. Thank you SPC Wyatt and Miss Nan for representing what is good and honorable in our great Nation!

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.