ENID, Okla. – This northwestern Oklahoma town long has been military-friendly – thanks in good part to nearby Vance Air Force Base – so when locals buried one of their own war dead Wednesday, they made sure to let Army Staff Sgt. Clint Storey’s family know how they felt.

Dozens of U.S. flags – held by veterans, members of a motorcycle gang and young children, among others – lined the streets around Central Christian Church, where funeral services for Storey were held. Another flag hung high above the street in front of the building, held by a fire truck’s ladder.

More flags waved at Enid Cemetery, where a plot and headstone were donated for Storey, 30, who died Aug. 4 after a roadside bomb blast in Ramadi, Iraq. About 100 people held flags as family and friends gathered around Storey’s casket at the cemetery, where he was buried with full military honors.

That support didn’t escape the notice of Storey’s mother, Carol Inherst.

“You are an American hero and an Oklahoman,” Inherst wrote in a letter to her son that was read during the service, “and I wish you could see your hometown of Enid.”

Storey’s wife, Melissa Storey, who lives in Palmer, Mass., attended the funeral. She and Inherst had disagreed about where he should be buried. His wife said earlier that he had wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, but Inherst had said her son signed military papers before he deployed overseas that left her in charge of his remains.

Army Chaplain Maj. Martha A. Carson praised Storey and other soldiers in Iraq for their bravery and compared them to the shepherd described in Psalm 23 in the Bible.

“Staff Sergeant Storey decided to go beyond his backyard, put on a uniform and fight the enemies of freedom,” Carson said. “He was a man in uniform who was willing to go out and do what others cannot, or will not, do.”

Storey joined the military in 1997 and was an Army recruiter for three years in Los Angeles before being stationed in Germany and, eventually, Iraq.

Melissa Storey was presented with the folded flag that had laid atop her husband’s casket. Military officials then presented another folded flag to Inherst, who at the cemetery sat across her son’s casket from her daughter-in-law.

The Storeys had a 4-year-old daughter and Melissa Storey is pregnant with the couple’s second child. She is due to give birth in February.

A memorial service for Clint Storey will be held in Massachusetts on Aug. 26 in Palmer.


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