None - Hundreds of people with American flags lined Claremore's streets today to remember an American hero. They were there for Sergeant Anthony Peterson's funeral. Peterson was a member of the Oklahoma National Guard and was killed in Afghanistan earlier this month. He was deployed with the 45th Infantry Brigade.
For several blocks, you could see people holding signs and waving flags. The Claremore Fire Department even raised its ladder and draped an American flag over it as Peterson’s body was escorted from a Chelsea funeral home Tuesday morning to the First Baptist Church just east of downtown Claremore.
Mike Laborico was on his way to the funeral. He says he knew Peterson from Rogers State University and both were part of Team Rescue, a bible study and outreach group.
“He said to me once, that on his funeral, I mean we were joking about it for the most part, but he didn’t want anybody to be depressed he wanted people to celebrate because he was leaving this place and going to a much better place,” says Laborico
He was wearing a bright blue shirt and says it was part of Peterson’s final wishes. “His request was that we wear bright colors,” says Laborico.
One woman who stood across the street from the First Baptist Church in Claremore says her son is in Afghanistan with the 45th Infantry Brigade.
“I came here because I knew there was a possibility that Westboro Baptist would be protesting for the family and I did not want that to happen. If it was my son, I would want to be here for him and I would want his friends to be here for him,” says Cindy Graver.
She says she got a message from her son in Afghanistan asking her to be there and so she honored his wish.
Residents plan to line Highway 66 Tuesday morning as the body of Sergeant Anthony Peterson makes its trip from a Chelsea funeral home to a Claremore church. Peterson’s funeral is set for 10am at the First Baptist Church in Claremore.
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office confirms the law enforcement escort will begin in Chelsea about 8am.
Peterson was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The 24 year-old died August 4th while on patrol in Afghanistan.
Following the Tuesday morning funeral service, he will buried at Fort Gibson National Cemetery in Fort Gibson.