Family, friends and strangers to Specialist Terry Gordon all lined the streets to pay their respects for the fallen soldier on New Year's Day. Gordon's homecoming procession passed through Meridian escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, making the trip from Key Field to Berry and Gardner Funeral Home. Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton says the loss is hard, but the military was Gordon's passion.
SPC Terry Gordon
"He always had that military discipline, and I used to tease him, I said, 'Do you always go around looking like you're in the military?' and he smiled," the mayor says. "He had such an endearing personality with beautiful teeth. I said, 'Is this what you want to do?' And he said yes, this is the career he wanted."
Men and women stood to show their support as it passed. Friends of the family like Larry Edwards acknowledge that this loss will be especially hard on Gordon's family.
"I can only imagine what kind of impact it is because we as parents, we usually think that our kids are going to bury us, but unfortunately we're burying a lot of our young people," Edwards says.
But bystanders say just being present is the best way to show Gordon's family your support. And many shed tears for a man they had never met... who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
"Showing the family support at a time like this is all that you really can do," Lauri Hoyt says. "You can't take away that pain, so you just show them that you share in your grief."
And Mayor Fulton says while he's glad to see such support, and he hopes even more come out in support for Gordon's funeral Saturday.
"I'm hoping that our citizens in Quitman, I hope they line the streets as he comes home. This young man deserves that respect," he says.