Tuesday: Staff Sgt. Rodriguez Mourned, Laid To Rest
Hundreds turned out Tuesday in Carthage for the funeral of Staff Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez, a 10th Mountain Division soldier killed earlier this month.
The funeral was unusual, in that most 10th Mountain Division soldiers killed in the line of duty are returned to their homes, far away from northern New York, for their funerals.
Rodriguez, a heavy vehicle operator with the 10th Sustainment Brigade, was killed July 18 in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded.
As his mother, wife, and his three children watched and listened, Major General Mark Milley, commander of the 10th Mountain Division, told the crowd "Those rights, those privileges that we live with every day he paid for. He paid for it with his life."
"He gave his all. He gave his life and he gave it all so that we can live ours. There is no greater sacrifice."
Milley called on those in attendance to not just honor and remember Rodriguez on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but every day.
He hailed Rodriguez as a man of passion, energy and love for his country and his family.
About 200 people gathered inside Lundy Funeral Home.
More people gathered on the streets of Carthage to honor Rodriguez as the hearse containing his remains passed on its way to Watertown. Rodriguez was to be buried in Brookside Cemetery.
Rose Hastings, one of the people waiting for the hearse to pass, was thinking about Rodriguez, about two other soldiers whose deaths were reported Monday, and about the soldiers still in Afghanistan.
"I was thinking of them. I thought of all of them. I wish it was over with and (they were) home, boys and girls both."
The service lasted about 45 minutes, and officials said there was a security concern - although it's not clear what - which prompted them to move quickly at the end of the service and the honors ceremony outside the funeral home.
Thursday, May 26, 2016, Watertown, NY