EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- An East Texas soldier's funeral becomes the next target for a church congregation notorious for protesting at military memorial services.
The announcement by Westboro Baptist Church upset many groups who dedicate themselves to honoring our soldiers, but it didn't phase his mother, who is staying focused on her son.
"I couldn't be more proud of him. My son loved the military, my son was committed to his unit and his men under him. I understand that his men truly respected and loved Russell," Cynthia Holcomb said.
She isn't concerned about the threat from Westboro. "That makes no difference to me, I'm there for my son," Holcomb, who is currently in Columbus, Ohio, said.
But others who stand behind military members aren't hiding their emotions. "It makes us angry. It's just so hard to understand why anybody could do such harmful things," Anne DeLaet, founder of Welcome Home Soldiers, said.
Her group showers service men and women with gifts, praise, and cheers when they arrive back in East Texas.
"These soldiers have nothing to do with the government policies, they're just doing their job. They are fighting, dying, they are doing so much for us, and we can never do enough for them," DeLaet said.
Welcome Home Soldiers is the complete opposite of what Westboro Baptist Church hopes to accomplish. "He voluntarily signed up for an army that embraces warmly this filthy manner of life. The nation embraces warmly this filthy manner of life," Jonathan Phelps, attorney for Westboro Baptist, said.
In a tweet, Phelps praised the IED that killed Bell. He tells CBS19 it is God's way of punishing a society that embraces homosexuality. "That is an amazing, really astounding work of the Lord in bringing the nation into judgement," Phelps said.
He also explains why they are choosing Bell's service.
"You can't get a better preaching platform, especially when he voluntarily signed up to fight for a country who's made God their number one enemy," Phelps said.
The Patriot Guard Riders are a military support group of motorcycle riders, who are promising to position themselves between the grieving family members and protestors, if needed.
Bell's funeral is not going to even be in East Texas. His father told CBS19 it will either be at Ft. Bragg or Arlington National Cemetery.
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