Army Sgt. Josh Rodgers will be laid to rest today in Bloomington after his body was returned home Friday amid a ceremony of solemn dignity that drew both family and strangers.
A large flag hung between ladder trucks from the Bloomington and Normal fire departments symbolically tied together the two communities in recognition of the sacrifice made by Rodgers, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 27.
The family drove under the arch of honor created by the ladders and flag when they arrived at the old terminal area at Central Illinois Regional Airport. Then they drove under it again in a procession that included the hearse carrying the remains of the decorated Army Ranger.
Among the estimated 200 people who gathered to show their quiet respect were about 35 students from Calvary Christian Academy, older people wearing caps or jackets indicating their military service, parents with young children and members of the Patriot Guard. Many held U.S. flags.