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Honor guard pays tribute at funeral

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By The Staff

FAYETTEVILLE NC – On Friday, July 23, 2010, Staff Sgt. Christopher Todd Stout, Chris to his friends, was given a funeral designed for the hero he was. Chris left the Pinecrest Funeral and Cremation Services facility in Hope Mills, N.C., under a flag of the nation that he loved escorted by a motorcycle honor guard of veterans as far back as Vietnam with Old Glory blowing in the breeze.

About a mile from First Church Fayetteville, where his funeral service was held, the road was lined with his church members holding the American flag in his honor.

He was met at the church with more members of the motorcycle honor guard carrying flags and an honor guard of his military counterparts. The military honor guard with the respect of the dead and the honor of a fallen comrade carried the flag-draped casket into the church.

After the seating of his family and military dignitaries we were told about the man. To his family he was a loving husband, father, son and a friend to all. To the military he was a devoted soldier and the first chaplain’s assistant to be killed as a result of hostile action since Vietnam.

In his message Pastor Robert Mitchell spoke of Chris’s devotion to his God and gave illustrations of Chris’s faith. Many songs that Chris held dear were presented, one by Alan Tomes, one by the 82nd all-American Chorus and the final musical presentation was by his daughter, Jacqueline Stout, singing lead as her father often did with the 82nd All American Chorus. Military awards were presented.

Chaplain Larry McCarty delivered the benediction and the flag draped casket was taken by the honor guard for transportation to Sandhills State Veteran Cemetery for burial.

Led by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department escorts and a multitude of riders in the motorcycle honor guard, the hearse was escorted to the cemetery. At the entrance to the cemetery the honor guard transported the casket to a black-draped caisson which was led to the area for committal followed by a riderless horse with boots turned backwards in the saddle.

At the committal area the casket was removed from the caisson and placed on the bier for committal. Pastor Mitchell recited scripture and had a final prayer. Chris was given a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of taps. The flag draping the casket was folded and presented to Staff Sgt. Stout’s wife, Misty. Four additional flags that were folded in the triangle configuration each touched the casket and one each presented to his three daughters and one to his mother.

Kenneth Register is a funeral director with Pinecrest Funeral and Cremation Services, Hope Mills, N.C.