[LAST UPDATED 11/27/10 at 5:41PM]
The streets of Thomasville were lined with American flags as residents gathered to say a silent 'thank you' and bid a final farewell to Army Specialist Shannon Chihuahua (11/27).
Says one resident, "Shannon died serving our country ... and we have to support him."
Chihuahua was killed while helping another soldier in Afghanistan on November 12th; the weight of his sacrifice is still heavy on community members' hearts.
Says Thomasville resident David Wilson, "We're here safe and they're not ... and they're giving their lives for us, we need to honor everything they do for us."
Chihuahua's funeral was held at the First Baptist Church in Thomasville. A slow procession carried him through town one last time as he was taken to be buried in Pelham.
Residents say the 25-year-old's death is a painful reminder than freedom is not free.
Residents say they line the streets with flags because it's important to physically show grieving families how much support they have in the community.
"They're fighting for us, and their family is important, too," Cairo resident Susan Wright explained.
"It brings a sense of pride to the town ... it brings the town together," says Pavo resident Cindy Brasington.
Thomasville residents say it is the least they can do to pay tribute to a man who paid the ultimate price protecting his country.
[UPDATE] 11-22 Noon --
The route for the funeral after the service at First Baptist Church in Thomasville will be:
Washington Street to Dawson Street
Dawson Street to Jackson Street
Jackson Street to Hwy 19
Hwy 19 to Pelham
In Pelham turn left on Hwy 93
Hwy 93 to Hwy 65
Hwy 65 to Hwy 112 and on to the cemetery.
Thomasville, Georgia --
Young and old lined the streets of Thomasville to pay their final respects to a local man who gave his all protecting our freedom.
Army Specialist Shannon Chihuahua was a medic, and died on November 12th in Afghanistan while helping another soldier.
Now, Thomasville community members are doing their best to say "thank you" for the fallen soldier's service.
"We're proud that our boys go and fight for our country, but we hate to bring them home ... like we did today," says Thomasville resident Tina Godwin.
Chihuahua was a 2004 graduate of Thomas County Central High School, also the Alma Mater of Chief Petty Officer David "Blake" McLendon, who was also killed while serving in Afghanistan, just 2 months ago.
As the motorcade bearing Chihuahua's remains drove into Thomasville, a silence settled over the crowds lining the street, as hundreds of American flags made a statement against the blue sky that words could not express.
Says Mike Sbarra, whose own son recently returned from Afghanistan, "There's no other place on Earth - and I've been around the world, a lot of places - there's no other place like Thomasville, Georgia to welcome home their fallen."
Thomasville residents say, though they can never do enough to thank Chihuahua and his family, they wanted to visibly show that he is appreciated and his memory will live on.
Visitation for Shannon Chihuahua will be Friday, the 26th, at Allen & Allen Funeral Home from 6-8pm.
The funeral will be the following Saturday, the 27th, at First Baptist Church at 1pm.