As the remains of a fallen U.S. soldier killed in a war zone were being laid to rest Friday, protesters that had promised to appear at the funeral remained absent.
Army Pfc. Nathan Tyler Davis, 20, died June 9 from an exploding roadside bomb in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.
After a huge showing of support by the community outside Yucaipa Christian Church where funeral services were held, hundreds more community members lined the Yucaipa and Beaumont roads taken by the funeral procession to the burial site.
That procession took Davis and his family-- escorted by more than 100 motorcyclists, some of them Patriot Guard members, and emergency vehicles-- into the heart of downtown Beaumont via 6th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. Davis' final resting place is now at Sunnyslope Cemetery.
A group from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church that issued a statement thanking God for improvised explosive devices (of the sort that killed Davis) had promised to protest the young man's funeral.
The group had not shown as of mid-afternoon, . Calls and emails seeking an explanation placed by Banning-Beaumont Patch on Friday were not immediately returned.
Davis was assigned to the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
He was born and raised in Yucaipa, and is now laid to rest in peace next to his grandfather in Beaumont.
Update 3:26 p.m.:
A hearse Friday afternoon pulled into a Beaumont cemetery, where a burial site awaited a U.S. Army private killed in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Pfc. Nathan Tyler Davis was killed June 9.
Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church had threatened to protest the funeral services.
In a flier issued to the press, the group claimed that Davis died in vain for a "nation of sodomite hypocrites," and that the death of all U.S. soldiers is happening because of "homosexual and other sins of America.
"The statement ends with the phrase: "THANK GOD FOR IEDs."
Update 1:38 p.m.:
Members of a Kansas-based church that threatened to protest the funeral of a fallen U.S. soldier from Yucaipa -- no protesters were in appearance at the service early afternoon Friday.
They said they would begin picketing at 10:15 a.m.
Hundreds of people lined the streets outside a church Friday in Yucaipa, as funeral services prepared to get underway for a fallen U.S. soldier.
Some of those hundreds were supposed to be members of a Kansas-based church, which that they plan on picketing outside the funeral of Pfc. Nathan Tyler Davis, 20, killed June 9 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
Since word of that protest broke, people from all over the Inland Empire have taken to the web to help organize counter-protests of their own to support the Davis family. They’ve started Facebook groups, and communicated via comments on Banning-Beaumont Patch—and
Several motorcycle clubs -- Los Vagos among them -- have ridden up in support of the soldier and his family, and a sea of U.S. flags were waving in the hot breeze.
Veterans joined mothers and children at the scene, most of them in support of the soldier's efforts.
Rumors flew about that the members were burning U.S. flags outside a Yucaipa Baker's fast food restaurant, but Patch could not confirm those reports. Employees at the Baker's said they never spotted any such actions.