Friday, July 13, 2007

A Funeral I Wish I Had Been Brave Enough to Attend

Pfc. Jonathan M. Rossi, US Army
Hometown: Safety Harbor, Florida, U.S.
Age: 20 years old
Died: July 1, 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Unit: Army, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas
Incident: Killed when insurgents attacked his unit using a makeshift bomb and small arms fire in Baghdad.

Thursday July 12, 2007

Yesterday I and other Blue Star mothers sadly attended the funeral of Pfc. Jonathan M. Rossi of Safety Harbor, Florida. He was one of our brave young men who gave his life in the line of duty to his country. My heart aches as I write this. God bless all our sons and daughters who serve.
I am a member of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Florida Sunshine 91 Chapter out of Jacksonville, Florida. As I live over 4 ½ hours travel time away from Jacksonville, I do not attend any meetings. My home was open to any Blue Star Mother or family member who wished to come on down to show support for the Rossi family. The Chapter members were to co-ordinate with the Patriotic Guard. For information reference the Patriotic Guard please access their web site: For information on the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. Florida Sunshine 91 Chapter out of Jacksonville, Florida please go to:

Andria Mocek traveled from Jacksonville, Florida on the 10th July 2007. It was an honour to have met Andria. She has two sons serving, one is a Marine and the other son is “doc” a Navy corpsman attached to the Marines. Andria was to present the gold star banner to Jonathan’s dad. His father is a retired SSGT who served in USAF. He wore his uniform with pride.
Andria and I talked all evening, until my husband Louis run us off to bed, reminding us that we would have to leave early to get to Safety Harbor. Although miles distance it is not that far, the road to get there is the hub to get into Tampa to work in the morning. We left Hernando Beach at 7.30 a.m. and arrived at 8.50.a.m. Andria had already contacted the Army Major we were to meet. We took separate vehicles as she was to leave from Bushnell National Cemetery after the service.

The Patriotic Guard were to be there at 8 a.m. When we arrived there were over 100 Guards being briefed on their duties. They made Andria and I very welcome. When they found out that we both had two sons serving, they came over and gave us lots of hugs. The guards are made up of men and women who work very hard to honour our fallen heroes. I was so impressed with these wonderful people. One of the ladies told me that if a funeral falls on a weekend that there could be several hundred of them. She said many of them worked and were unable to get leave. Others had taken the day off to honour Jonathan and his family. Many of them had served their country, and their leather jackets would tell which branch they had served in and unit. Or if the were a Vietnam or Gulf Vet, etc.

We met several blue star moms there, I am sorry to say I did not get all their names, Robin and Clay Cunningham and Judy Crews attended. One mother’s son told her to attend. He had been Jonathan’s platoon leader. She was surprised when a young soldier read out his tribute to Jonathan. There were, of course, a lot of tears.

Please access this web site for a reporters account:

The Guard lined the walk way to the church with the American Flags held high. The church was packed. As well as the local Priests there was the base Priest from McDill AFB helping with Mass. As the funeral possession wound its way 72 miles from Safety Harbor to Bushnell, through four counties I cried. We drove through Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando into Sumter County to Bushnell. What an outstanding job the Sheriff Departments, State Patrol and Fire Departments did. As we drove through Pinellas every Fire Department came out and lined the route. The men stood at attention and saluted farewell to one of our brave soldiers.
The Guards drove off in front, and some behind, if there was not a police car at the lights, the guard was there, holding back the traffic as we went through all these lights. There are a lot of lights in 72 miles. There were many people driving in the funeral possession. We had a few incidents where motorists would cut in, the guards immediately got them out so we could travel unheeded to Bushnell National Cemetery.

At the cemetery the Guard once again lined the walkway with their flags. Folding of the flag, presentation of the flag by a two star General to Jonathan’s dad. Then we walked to Jonathans resting place. We met more blue star moms who had driven from all over Florida, to show that they cared, and they cried along with us as we mourned for one of our sons.
Andria presented SSgt Rossi with the Gold Banner. Very hard job to do. No parent ever wants to receive this banner. For information reference Gold Star Banner please access:

Why have I written this? This had been very, very difficult to write, and I do not profess to be a writer. Since I returned I have had many emails from people who wanted to attend, but due to other commitments or because of distance were not able. After my seventh email writing over and over again the same thing and bawling me eyes out, I decided to just put it all down.
God bless the Rossi Family. God bless all who serve. God bless my blue star brothers and sisters.

Jan Zabel. Blue Star Mom.
Mother of Kendal. United States Army
Mother of Aaron. United States Navy


Sarge Charlie said...

2 Timothy 4:7,8
1. 7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8) Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Debbi (no 'e' on the end) said...

I personally have been to 2 funerals of Fallen Hero's & pray each time will be my last. The Patriot Guard Riders are an amazing group of Men & Women aren't they? My prayers go out to the Rossi Family as well as all the other families of our Fallen Hero's. "A Soldier never dies until he is forgotten" We shall never forget them. Hooah!