You would’ve thought the presidential motorcade was in town.

At least, that was the comparison made by Walton resident Joyce Eshelman on Sunday. She told the (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune that she hadn’t seen such a formidable turnout since Robert Kennedy’s entourage made its way through Cass County during his presidential campaign in the 1960s.

“I was 10 years old, and I hadn’t seen anything quite like that,” she said. “But today, this is absolutely phenomenal. This is small town Americana at its best.”

On Sunday, thousands of people paid their respects to Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, who was among 13 U.S. service members killed in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Marine’s remains were brought to Grissom Air Reserve Base in a private, dignified transfer for the family before a roaring motorcycle procession escorted them to Gundrum Funeral Home in Logansport.

Around 2,000 bikers were initially expected to attend Sunday’s procession. Instead, more than 7,000 Patriot Guardsmen joined Marines and other military service members for the ride. Some social media posts placed the estimated turnout closer to 10,000 bikes in all.

And even more Hoosiers lined the roadways with flags, signs and T-shirts commemorating Sanchez’s life. Some drove hours across the state for the occasion.

On Tuesday, Sanchez was laid to rest in Mount Hope Cemetery after a somber funeral service that drew the likes of former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, to name a few.

To see so many people near and far — especially those who didn’t know Sanchez personally — honor his life this week is nothing short of moving.

There’s no question that Sanchez and the 12 other service members we lost Aug. 26 died in a senseless act of violence that should never have happened. Many of them were just toddlers when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, set in motion the 20 years of war that followed.

But for one day, everyone cast aside their political differences, finger-pointing and name-calling in recognition of what we all had in common: The collective mourning of a life gone too soon.

If Sanchez ever wondered whether his life would leave a lasting effectct, this community has made it clear that the answer is a resounding “yes.”

The Logansport Pharos-Tribune

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