Community Mourns Fallen Soldier - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Community Mourns Fallen Soldier

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Nicole Gerber


FAIRHAVEN - The downpour added to the already somber mood as the body of 19 year old Matthew Rodriguez was brought to the First Congressional Church in Fairhaven for his funeral.

Throngs of people lined the streets, like Sharon Demedeiros, who traveled from New Bedford.

"I came out because I'm so heartbroken over the loss of Matthew. And to support the family," she said.

And Sharon had another reason. She heard threats from the Kansas based Westboro Baptist Church that people were coming to protest the funeral.

"I can't wrap my mind around that kind of hatred. And I wanted to show them that they are not welcome anywhere near this. And to protect the family," she said.

The protesters stayed away.

And all who were left were mourning the loss of a young man, who died, defending our country.

And paying their respects to a family facing the holidays without their son.

"Somebody that... was a little kid coming down at Christmas time and now... now they're gone. It's just sad no matter when, or how old they are. It's a very sad event," said Commandant Warren Griffin of the MA Marine Corps League.

"Honestly, I was amazed. His parents are inspiring for how well they were holding up," said Anthony O'Brien, Chief of Staff, District 12 VFW.

"It was an amazing turnout, I think. It did my heart good, to see so many people standing guard," said Demedeiros.

Following the service, Lance Corporal Rodriguez was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

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