Monday, October 15, 2007

Monks, Honor Guard and Patriot Guard Salute Soldier Killed in Iraq (in Elmhurst)

The final funeral service for Spec. Chirasak Vidhyarkorn, 32, of Bayside, took place at Gerard J. Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst today at 12:30 p.m.

Family and friends threw yellow cellophane-wrapped quarters tied with red ribbons (symbols of good fortune in Thai culture) in the street at the intersection of 43rd and Whitney Avenues as Honor Guard pallbearers presented the flag-draped casket. Police closed off 43rd Avenue to traffic during the ceremony.

At least sixteen Patriot Guard Riders (volunteers and veterans, including those from the Vietnam and Gulf Wars) held flags as the Honor Guard played Taps, fired rifles and presented a folded American flag to Vidhyarkorn's family. The riders followed the hearse (on motorcycles) to the crematory in Middle Village.

"It really brought to the forefront what these [soldiers] do for you," said Raymond Neufeld of Neufeld Funeral Home. "You don't see the full effect until you see something like this. It is a wake up to the reality of it all."

Neufeld said Vidhyarkorn was the first funeral service at Neufeld Funeral Home for a soldier killed in Iraq. Vidhyarkorn was killed in a non-combat related incident on Sept. 29 in Diwanihay, Iraq.

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