Aggies came out in force Thursday to build a human wall around a College Station church, hoping to block protestors from Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting a soldier's funeral.
Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale, 42 and a 1993 A&M grad, died on June 28, when he was shot by another soldier at Fort Bragg during a safety briefing.
"The Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting soldier's funerals with anti-gay messages, posted plans to show up at Tisdale's funeral on their website," BuzzFeed reported.
Ryan Slezia, a 2008 A&M grad, organized a large group of Aggies to build a human wall around Central Baptist Church:
It is proposed that we respond with true Aggie spirit.
In response to their yelling, we will be silent. Like silver taps, like Bonfire Memorial.
In response to their signs of hate, we will wear maroon.
In response to their mob anger, we will form a line, arm in arm.
This is a silent vigil. A manifestation of our solidarity.
Some 650 Aggies formed a "Maroon Wall" around the church. (BuzzFeed has a slideshow of the Aggie effort.) Lt. Col Steven Ruth, a soldier who eulogized Tisdale at the funeral was impressed by the showing, the Bryan-College Station Eagle 's Monica Nagy reported.
Ruth said he appreciated the hundreds of Aggies who came and stood in the sweltering heat in honor of Tisdale,
The lieutenant colonel said he was surprised to see many line the streets Wednesday when Tisdale’s body was brought in from Austin. He said it prompted him to ask a woman on a sidewalk if she knew Tisdale.
“The woman said, ‘He is a son of Aggieland — there’s no strangers here on this road,’” he said.
The move even won praise from Longhorns:
— Jordan W (@jowa504) July 6, 2012