Facebook Groups Urge People to Wear Red
COLUMBIA - The First Baptist Church on East Broadway will be looking red Saturday. Thousands of people have joined Facebook groups promoting people to dress in red and form a giant circle around the church, where U.S. Army Specialist Sterling Wyatt's funeral will be held Saturday. The Facebook groups formed in response to Wyatt's funeral being on Westboro Baptist Church's picket schedule.
Twenty-one year old Spc. Sterling Wyatt graduated from Rock Bridge High School. According to the press release Wyatt was supporting the U.S. military in Operation Enduring Freedom when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy bomb. He died July 11 of injuries sustained during the attack.
Tori Smith created one of the Facebook groups to honor Sterling Wyatt. She said she did it because she thinks the family deserves to have a peaceful funeral. "It's the right thing to do," Smith said.
Along with volunteers in red, Patriot Guard Riders will also be at the funeral procession.
Patriot Guard Riders is a national organization which attends the funerals of fallen American soldiers as invited guests of the family. Patriot Guard Riders Captain Reed Hickam said the group will hold American flags and line the sidewalk along the church Saturday at the funeral.
Hickam also said he would likely be wearing red himself. "I wear red every Friday because red represents 'remember everyone deployed'," Hickam said.
Hickam said he expects close to 1,000 members of Patriot Guard Riders to show up at the First Baptist Church on Saturday. On Friday members of the organization lined the sidewalk for the visitation.
"It's about paying tribute and honor to that young man," Hickam said. "He gave it all for us, and we should all give it back for him."