Lebanon, MO - Saying Good-Bye and Thank You to James Finley, our hometown hero

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri

Specialist James Finley, of Lebanon Missouri, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan a little more than a week ago, on May 31, 2008.

Yesterday, Spc. Finley drove down Jefferson Avenue, a main drag in Lebanon Missouri for the last time. He made the journey from Heritage Baptist Temple on the north side of town to Mount Rose Cemetery, on the south side of town.

Yet, he was not alone.

Family,friends and complete strangers joined Spc. Finley. The Patriot Guard, over 20 strong, escorted the procession, along with local fire and police. Jefferson Avenue was lined with people, from near and far. 

The procession was almost two miles long. 

Businesses closed. 

Wal-Mart shut and locked its doors.

On Monday afternoon, it wasn't about making money.

Local business owners joined together to buy flags, handing them out to young and old along the procession route. 

Rain gently fell as we waited to say our final good-byes. No one moved. No one cared.

We shared umbrellas. We shared stories of family. 

We shared our faith in America and we shared our celebration of community.

Specialist James Finley is our hometown hero. 

Yesterday, we said good bye.

Yesterday, I was reminded of why I live in rural America.

Yesterday, I said, "Thank you"

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Photos by Debbie DiFonzo, Lebanon, MO
May 9th, 2008

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Rainmaker
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Sondra Meyer:
Star View Real Estate - Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.

How sad, yet how moving.    I'm glad everyone turned out for your hometown hero's last drive through town. I wish that we could let our men and women in uniform know how much we appreciate them when they are still alive.  My prayers are with his family and friends. 

Jun 11, 2008 12:41 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Debbie DiFonzo
Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri - Lebanon, MO
Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate

Sondra- Thank you. While I was waiting Monday afternoon, I had a similar thought. I wonder if Spc. Finley knew how many people stood behind him and supported him. I certainly hope so. I know I would not have been a strong enough person to go defend my country.

Jun 11, 2008 01:20 AM #2
Rainmaker
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Debbie, This is a great tribute to a wonderful person who served our country....my blessings go to all that do.

Jun 11, 2008 03:14 AM #3
Anonymous
Chuck Hubbs

Thank you Lebanon Missouri and surrounding community for the unbelievable show of support for my nephew James.  My sister, her husband and their children will never forget how you honored him the way that you did.   I drove most of the way to the cemetery with tears in my eyes looking at school children, workers, families...fellow americans standing there waving flags, holding signs and supporting our James.  Our suffering was shared by so many that day easing our pain.  May God bless you all for your selfless act of kindness. 

Jun 11, 2008 03:20 PM #4
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Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495

God bless you for this tribute, Debbie.

Mike in Tucson

Jun 11, 2008 04:10 PM #5
Rainmaker
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Arina Hanciulescu
RealtyPros - Las Vegas, NV
RealtyPros

Debbie,I hardly hold my tiers... God bless his soul. He and so many others - our heroes - that pay the highest price, precious life, for all of us. It is sad to see life wasted in the name of a game I don't understand!  

Jun 11, 2008 04:28 PM #6
Rainmaker
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Debbie DiFonzo
Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri - Lebanon, MO
Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate

Carole - Thank you.

Mike Jones - This was one of the most moving experiences I've ever had. I felt honored to be allowed to celebrate Spc. Finley's dedication to our country.

Jun 12, 2008 02:52 AM #8
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Debbie DiFonzo

Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate
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