Soldier Receives Thunderous Escort

Funeral services will be held on Saturday

By Andrew Greiner
|  Thursday, Nov 12, 2009  |  Updated 5:44 PM CDT
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Dramatic Photos: The Fort Hood Tragedy

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Soldier's Casket Inspires ROTC Cadets

Seeing Michael Pearson's casket carried particular significance for a group of Air Force ROTC cadets from Bolingbrook.
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Michael Pearson, the Bolingbrook soldier who died in the Ft. Hood rampage last week, was celebrated as a hero today in his hometown as his body passed through the streets on which he was raised.

Shortly after his body arrived at Midway Airport in a military Falcon 20 aircraft, a procession that included hundreds of motorcycle riders from the Patriot Guard left the airport, with dozens of soldiers saluting his hearse.

The procession escorted the fallen soldier to Bolingbrook, past his home and Bolingbrook High School, where the entire student body -- 3,600 students -- lined the street in silence. 

"They understand the importance of what happened," said school superintendent Dr. Phil Schoffstahl.

The moment Pearson's body passed by carried particular significance for a group of Air Force ROTC cadets.

"When I saw the casket, I was just struck.  How could someone from our school die?" questioned Michael Jacobson.

But instead of causing them to question their decision to go into the service, for many it added inspiration.

"I was thinking, like, 'Wow, I want to be honored like this if I should ever happen to go down,'" said Caprisha Pritchett.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday at Fred C. Dames Funeral Home in Joliet.  He’ll be interred at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill, according to the Chicago Tribune. 
 
Pearson was shot three times, taking bullets in the spine and chest when Maj. Nidal Hassan opened fire at the Ft. Hood soldier readiness center.

Pearson’s parents, Sheryll and Jeff, received a call from their son’s sergeant at Ft. Hood telling them Mike had been shot and was in surgery. Hours later, an Army surgeon called and told the Pearsons that Mike had passed away.

Pearson was one of 13 killed in the incident, a number which included four soldiers from the Chicago area.

Pearson worked at a furniture company after graduating from Bolingbrook High and before enlisting in the military.

Two brothers, Jason and Chris Craig, and a sister, Julie Craig along with his parents, survive Mike.
 

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