When the body of Cpl. Jeremy Shank was returned to his hometown for burial, the community responded in a way befitting the honor he so richly deserved. Shank died while serving his nation in Iraq.
To show their respect both to Shank and his family, hundreds of people lined Jackson's streets waving flags. Businesses put special messages of support and sympathy on their sign boards.
During and after Shank's funeral at Jackson First Baptist Church, hundreds more mourners paid their respects, many of them joining an emotionally moving funeral procession to Russell Heights Cemetery.
The outpouring of the community's sense of loss and its foundation in patriotic values were evident for several days. Not only did this offer some comfort to the Shank family, but it also showed the best side of area residents who mourned with the dead soldier's relatives and were united in their caring and concern.
The display was one of community compassion and understanding of one family's tragic loss. And it was a fitting young hero's tribute.