Today, November 19th, 2011 would normally have held my attention as my mother's birthday, well it would've been her birthday (in words) for her years were halted over five years ago when she passed away from breast cancer. But, something more important than remembrance of a mother's birthday has taken place today.
My blog buddies, I have felt compelled to write about what has happened in our area lately. Our community has lost one of its up and coming young men who had made the choice to serve his country with bravery by standing up for International safety. His choice to serve helped us to live another day in peace...keeping our shores safer because of his strong stance overseas in Afghanistan.
This morning, I left the house by myself to muddle through the confusion of where to go among the many people in town who were standing roadside at various locations, ready to give Cody's procession strong support. I decided to go a very short distance, just to the block of the funeral home and to stand with a few other nice people who know this young soldier died much too young.
I made instant friends with the people standing around me as we waited for the funeral procession to make its way toward our direction. So many people were holding American flags, or wearing some of their old military accessories, people of all ages, some holding home-made signs...all wanting to show the family of Cody Norris that this community honors that young man.
The citizens of LaPorte, an industrial town connected within Houston's Greater Metropolitan area, definitely suffered a tremendous loss of one of our own young men...Cody Norris gave his life while serving in Afghanistan. Cody Norris went to the same highschool as my youngest daughter Stefie, but he was a year younger --- Cody had only graduated last year.
It's nearly inconceivable to me that this young soldier of only 20 years old has lost his life while serving in Afghanistan. His first tour of duty.
Cody was a 2010 graduate of LaPorte High School where he was in ROTC and a member of the Color Guard Rifle Team. He was also a member of the Military Museum.
He enjoyed working on his 1952 M37 Army Truck which he drove to and from school. He enjoyed paintball, Deer hunting, playing video games and Hibachi food. He was always bubbly, happy and just silly. He was always energetic, light-hearted and made everyone smile.
Following his brother's footsteps, he joined the U.S. Army and won the expert marksman badge during basic training.
He served as a 240B Machine Gunner with the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Ft. Riley, Kansas.
He is survived by his father, Reese Norris; mother, Terri Norris and step-father, Kenneth Rogers; brother Michael Norris; grandparents, Robert and Patricia Vegil, and Geneva Pynes; other relatives, Velissa Vegil, George, Linda, Sadie and Andy Lane, Pam and Zach Norris along with numerous other relatives and a host of friends. Visitation will be Sunday, November 20, 2011 from 4pm - 8pm at Grandview Funeral Home.
Pfc Cody Norris arrived via military transport at Ellington Air Field today with full honors around 11:55am and partly escorted by his own brother, Michael Norris, who is currently in his last year at West Point...this family is a military family.
This heartbreaking homecoming reminds us that we are to be thankful for the men and women who serve and make the ultimate sacrifice. I felt it to be a personal duty to support this family in the tragic, yet honorable homecoming of their son and I was stood tall there today on the street and to put my hand over my heart and to shed tears of sorrow as all of us feel --- the shared regret over the way this turned out for Pfc. Cody Norris.
At the start of the video, I have tears coming down my face and my heart is beating so hard and fast that it's making the camera jump with each heartbeat, but once you see those 200+ motorcyles making their way to the funeral home, it is incredible. The police had all of us on foot to move in and stand on Spencer Highway for a respectful body-block of all traffic during the procession. The very end of the film ends up sideways because I was just dropping my camera, not even aware of whether or not I had quit filming.
Our community is heartbroken for this family and we pray for God's powerful mercy to help this family make it through some of the hardest times they'll ever know.
Congressman Ted Poe was honored to give tribute on Capital Hill for Cody Norris - Video can be seen: http://youtu.be/MM9T3R4nN8M
Thank you Pfc. Cody Norris, you are our hero, a warrior and you will not be forgotten by your community and beyond.
And...it is done. For today and in the days to follow, may God give the family of Pfc Cody Norris much needed rest and a peace that defies comprehension.