Saturday morning when I was leaving for work I could hear the drums beating for the funeral procession of young Amesbury, MA soldier who died in a truck rollover Sept. 2 while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Sgt. Jordan Shay, a 2005 Amesbury High School graduate, was a specialist in the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, out of Fort Lewis, WA.
Hundreds of local residents, many who never knew Shay, came to pay their respects lining the motorcade route that took Sgt. Shay’s casket from Newburyport, MA through Salisbury, MA to Saint Joseph’s Church in Amesbury, MA where his funeral was held.
The funeral procession was led by two dozen motorycyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders and the Rolling Thunder motorcycle groups. Dignitaries attending the funeral included Governor Deval Patrick and US Senator John F. Kerry. Patrick was on crutches and Kerry used a cane; both recently had surgeries.
The Newburyport Daily News also reported that “during a military ceremony outside the church in lieu of a graveside service, “Taps” was played as the American flag was removed from Shay’s casket and folded to be presented to Shay’s mother, with Shay’s girlfriend, Kelsey Chandonnet, sitting next to her.”
She was also given Shay’s Bronze Star and the Iraq Campaign Medal. A three-volley tribute by the Honor Guard was conducted as police officers from Newburyport, Amesbury, Salisbury and Merrimac joined military personnel and members of the Patriot Guard Riders and Rolling Thunder in salute.
As the ceremony concluded, family members approached the casket to give Shay one last goodbye, covering it with red roses.
Chandonnet, in tears, paused to kiss the casket twice.