0430 (that’s AM) – On a cold December morning, yet balmy for Minnesotans this late in the year, forty-four Patriot Guard members assembled at Fire Station 1 just outside the gate at Mpls/St Paul Int. Airport. It was a very proud moment to see the dedication in these 44 people that early in the morning. Some had come from so far away they had to leave their home at 2 am.
We were there to bring home CW2 Lucas Sigfrid who was killed doing his duty while serving our country. We awoke one of the firefighters to unlock the door to the fire station so the volunteer from the Armed Forces Service Center could bring in his load of coffee and treats for the family when they arrived. As military personnel and family arrived they were awestruck with all the flags greeting them. Warrant officers from Lucas’ unit were, one being a pilot that was flying with him that night in another helicopter that had to go back and find him after the crash. Brought chills down your back that had nothing to do with the weather. The plane arrived early as the procession formed with escorts to go out on the tarmac to pick up CW2 Sigfrid. We had time to warm up in the fire station and then reform our flagline as the hearse and procession came out the gate and passed through our lines. The Armed Forces Service Center volunteer invited us in to warm up and enjoy the leftover coffee and treats. Seeing this, Lucas’ father, uncle, cousins and friends returned from their parked cars and joined us inside. They just wanted to thank us and talk with us. We all offered our condolences and heard stories about Lucas from a very proud father. This, more than being indoors, helped warm us. To see and feel that what we do has such a positive effect on the families and reinforces why we stand our flagline. We do help them get through these toughest of days.
That afternoon we again gathered at the funeral home in Brooklyn Center for the visitation. Lucas’ widow surprised us by arriving much earlier than scheduled. A hasty flagline was formed as she entered with other family and friends. Over thirty PGR members stood during the evening as many, many family, friends and others came to pay respects. We presented our MN PGR plaque and challenge coins to Lucas’ father and widow followed by the Blue Star Mothers presentation. Our flagline stood till 8:45pm honoring one of our Heroes.
The next morning twenty three Patriot Guard came out for CW2 Sigfrid’s funeral in Mounds View. Our flagline lined the front of the church as the procession from the funeral home arrived escorted by law enforcement officers. The funeral service had a huge attendance by family and guests, including our Governor. As the entire front and side of the church had large windows, our entire flagline was also visible from the church vestibule inside. We all stood tall and respectful and the sight of our flags from inside was impressive. As the service started we stood down and all but six of us left for FSNC. In the church provided warm up room, the church ladies brought us coffee, sandwiches and lemon bars as we waited to reform our flagline. As the military pall bearers carried CW2 Sigfrid from the church our flags blew in the breeze and we honored him with a salute. A couple of us then left to beat the funeral procession to the cemetery.
On arrival at FSNC we went directly to shelter #4 as the flagline was already set up. What a sight, to drive through 40 to 50 flags as we found a place to park. The funeral procession arrived as a brisk wind kept our flags flying proudly. Full military honors were given by the US Army Honor Squad. The Ft Snelling Honor Guard was also there to stand their line. Rest in peace CW2 Lucas Sigfrid. Thank you for your service.
To all of our active members who chose to attend one, or all of this four part mission, I want to thank you. Lucas’ father wants to thank you and said his love goes out to all of you. Remember, what we do matters to these families during their grief. In some way we hope to help them through this. Believe me, we do.
Larry Myslicki “Slick”
Ride Captain, Metro NE