Floyd Countians and many others Wednesday honored Steven Jesse Bishop, 29, a Floyd County native who served his country and died in Iraq on March 13.

Although his death was not combat-related, Bishop was buried at Jacksonville Center with full military honors, a rightful honor for someone who wore the uniform and stood post in defense of his country. A large crowd included family and friends, a military honor guard from Fort Lee and members of the Patriot Guard motorcycle organization that provides escort and other services to fallen servicemen and women.

Some readers have wondered why I haven’t written about Bishop and did not photograph the service. I couldn’t be at Bishop’s service. A number of factors, including a battle with a still-unidentified allergy that at times left me unable to see along with other problems limited my mobility for the first part of this week. Medication has finally corrected the problem although the cause is still undetermined.

As a journalist, I’ve always had mixed feelings about photographing funerals, be they for those who serve their country, governmental leaders or celebrities. Funerals, for the most part, are private affairs and should be treated with decorum. I’ve never felt comfortable violating anyone’s privacy with a camera on such an occasion. As a member of the Patriot Guard, I would have tried to attend Bishop’s services and would have tried — as the Guard often does — to shield the family from intrusion from those who would violate their privacy.

When a soldier falls, it doesn’t matter if you support war or not or if you believe in the cause that put that soldier in harm’s way. Those who serve their country deserve every honor that can be bestowed and the large show of support for Steven Bishop from the community this week was an honor he earned and respect he deserved.

Our condolences to his family and friends and our thanks for his service to his country.

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