Community pays fitting tribute to deceased soldier
Jul 05, 2012 | 1050 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anyone who drove by the display of patriotic decor on Plaza Circle this past weekend would think that city officials, veterans groups and Boy Scouts had weeks to prepare for the funeral procession of Sgt. Jose Rodriguez, who grew up in Gustine.

That it was all thrown together in less than 24 hours and that it attracted roughly 150 residents is a testament to the can-do spirit and the caring nature of this community.

One of the wonderful things about the people of Patterson is the way they come together when necessary, particularly when there are people in need. That particularly seems to be the case during times of tragedy, such as on this occasion and following the kidnapping and death of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas last year.

Patriot Guard Riders member and Patterson schoolteacher Gary Rupe noted that Patterson had the most impressive display of support of all the communities the procession traveled through last weekend. He said the show of support was a huge encouragement to Rodriguez’s family members. It was a fitting tribute to a man who gave his life for his country as a member of the Army.

Kudos should go to city officials, including the police and fire departments and the Scouts who hoisted the flags in the city’s North Park. Much praise should also go to veterans groups and their supporters, as well as chamber of commerce representatives and other folks who got the word out about the event.

But it’s unfortunate that it often takes tragedy to bring this community together. If Pattersonites could foster the caring spirit they showed this weekend when times are relatively good or humdrum, we could do truly amazing things.

This city has potential for greatness when residents work together. It’s time to see that greatness shine more often in good times, as well as bad.

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