I’ve seen these people on TV, and watched some of their hatred on youtube, but now it is personal. His mother, Jenny Newsom, is my sister Echo’s friend from high school. I remember her coming over to the house when I was a boy. She attended the 50 States in 50 Days tour show in Nashville last year……..very sweet lady.
She is now grieving. My sister emailed me last month with the news of her son’s tragic death in Afghanistan. I felt like someone had punched in the stomach. As a parent, I immediately thought of my own son………I felt helpless.
Now, we can help her. These despicable individuals plan to disrupt his funeral, and we can help shield his family and mother from these idiots. How?
Dusty Belew, a high school friend of mine has formed a Facebook group called “Say NO to the Westboro Baptist Church in Nashville”, and we will use it to organize and mobilize next Monday. We are linking up with a very well-organized group called the Patriot Guard Riders that ride to support the families of fallen soldiers throughout the US. Their facebook group numbers at around 140,000 people. Our group will augment and support their numbers on the day.
Here is what you can do right now:
1) Sign up for the “Say No to the Westboro Baptist Church in Nashville” Facebook group-We have 12,000 members in 4 days. We are using it to organize, put updated info out, and you can use it as a place to connect with each other. Join us.
2) Share this post on your Facebook wall. Let’s get the word out to Middle Tennessean’s and those in surrounding States, so that we can support this fallen soldier’s family.
INFO ON HOW TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT:
Date & Time: Monday, June 13th at 9:30am – 3pm
Place: Along Franklin Road and extended route of the funeral procession of Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf.
**organizers will be in bright yellow vests, and shuttles are ambulances (10 of them). Please see an organizer for info on arrival.
PARKING: Please read this, as the details have changed! Originally we were staging at the Church of the Redeemer on Caldwell Lane. Our numbers have grown WAY beyond the capacity of that church, so we secured parking at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds and the Unity Church on Franklin Road. Everyone needs to plan to park in one of those two locations and shuttle over to the target locations. There will be a tent set up as the shuttle pick up point.
1st parking location:
625 Smith Ave.
Google map of location
**The best lots to use are the ones on Wedgewood Ave, closest to Nolensville road (also called 4th ave at this location). Look for the tent for the shuttle pick-up point. The shuttles are ambulances.
Communication: If you have a twitter account: Follow @kevinmontgomery and @bonepony
How to get texts via Twitter? Go into “Settings”, then “Mobile” and link your phone with your twitter account, and then go to @kevinmontgomery and @bonepony and find the little phone symbol next to the green “FOLLOWING” button, and click on it. You will then receive texts directly to your phone when one of us tweets. We will update you with info on parking, water, portapotties, and basic info as it changes on the day…….including the route of the procession.
**also, text usmarine to 90210 for fast breaking updates.
The 2nd location (which I would actually try on a first come first serve basis).
First Church Unity
5125 Franklin Rd.
Nashville, TN 37220
Google map of location
**this is a very good location to try first. Once it is full, then we will direct folks to the Nashville Fairgrounds.
UPDATE: We now have a third choice for parking. I, personally would choose this parking lot as my first choice.
The 3rd location:
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
4905 Franklin Pike
Nashville, TN 37220
**This would be my first choice.
ALSO: We have secured special indoor parking for motorcycles. I used to ride myself, so I understand the bond between a rider and his/her bike. If you’re a bike rider looking for a parking place, you can go to Rural Metro Ambulance Service at 3715 Vulcan Dr. and park indoors. Your bikes will be safe and secure in there.
**Special note on parking-our support team are ex-Nashville Police Officers, and active duty sheriffs and we’ve put a great deal of energy into finding a good parking solution. There are a few churches along Franklin Road that upon direction of the Nashville Police will have NO TRESPASSING signs on their lawns. If you see a sign, then DO NOT TRESPASS, or you will be arrested. Also, Franklin Road is a residential street. Please respect the property owners.
What to bring on Monday:
Monday will be a long, hot day. There is a need to stake out our ground.
1) Bring lots of water. We will have some bottle water on hand, but prepare yourself.
3) A Flag, or two.
4) A sack lunch. Pack an extra one for your less prepared neighbor.
5) A fully charged cell phone.
6) folding chair.
7) blanket for picnic?
8) Your patience.
9) An umbrella for shade?
Shuttle Services and how to recognize our organizers?
We will have 10 ambulances operating to and from the parking lots and show of support areas. They will be constantly rotating and they are dedicated to making this a safe day. UPDATE-we now have a red double decker bus operating between the churches, and a large greyhound bus operating to and from the fairgrounds. There ARE restrooms on site at the fairgrounds.
Shuttle Pickup Point to return to your vehicle at any of the locations is the intersection of Caldwell Lane and Franklin Road. Please text usmarine to 90210 to get a free text with any changes that might take place.
**signing up for the text alerts will be very important.
How to recognize our organizers? They will be wearing bright yellow safety vests with “Rural Metro Ambulance” on them. We are a collection of volunteers and this is a huge undertaking. Please be patient and show initiative where you can.
OUR CODE OF CONDUCT-The most important thing you will read here. Pay attention, please:
Monday, June 13th is a memorial for Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf. It is a sacred day for his family. This group will not bring shame on his funeral. We want to make it a beautiful, solemn experience that will edify his family, and honor him.
Things to remember:
1) Do NOT at any point confront, speak to, or physically engage members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Ignore them totally. They feed on your anger, and HATE to be ignored. Ignore them. The members of this church are looking for a lawsuit, so don’t give them one.
2) Do take care of each other. If someone needs water, or a sandwich, then give them the extra water, or sandwich that you brought.
3) Do not leave any trash along the side of the road, or in any of the staging areas. Bring a large plastic bag, so you can leave with your own trash, or pick someone else’s up. Many businesses are donating their property to help the cause, and we want to respect that.
4) Bring your flag and DO wave it. As a civilian, as the funeral procession approaches I would hold the flag still with one hand, and put my other over my heart in silence.
5) If you happen to be in your vehicle at the time the funeral procession approaches, then safely pull over to the shoulder of the road, and get out and stand for our Marine and his family.
6) Make this a day that we can all be proud of.
Thank you for the outpouring of love and concern. Please remember that this will be an emotional day, and the best way we can now serve Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf is to honor him by acting in accordance with the points above.
**Text usmarine to 90210 for instant text alerts with updates and information.
A SPECIAL MESSAGE I JUST POSTED TO THE FACEBOOK GROUP WALL:
As you wake around Nashville and the neighboring States…..we pray for your safety, and ask that everyone prays for peace. We have an opportunity to write this story ourselves, and I want the story to read that ordinary Nashvillians, and good citizens of this country came together to honor our fallen hero Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf in a beautiful display of respect and honor. If you are unsure of how to write that story, then please refer to our “Code of Conduct”, and today each of you is responsible for the behavior of the person standing next to you. Help each other through this.
2,000 people showed up in front of the church………3,000 bikers were there, and after 10 minutes the Westboro “Church” members hastily packed up their hateful signs and got out of there……..they ran. Ordinary people came from as far away as San Diego, California to stand up for Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf’s memory, and family, and we prevailed. Marine Sergeant Kevin B. Balduf’s military escort then left about an hour and a half later with thousands lined up along the route to Smyrna Airport, where he will be flown to Arlington National Cemetary. He was a Bronze Star hero, but some of his unit didn’t even know it until his death last month. A true hero.
This is how Nashville honored him today:
Here is a story on what the Patriot Guard Riders do from the NBC Nightly News-Inspiring.
The daughter of the Westboro Cult’s leader, Shirley Phelps, is interviewed on Fox News. Evil incarnate.
I hope my Nashville friends get activated and show up for my friend’s family. Join the Facebook group, and share this post to your wall. Sound off below in the comments section.