Friday, family members will lay fallen soldier Andrew Velez to rest. Thursday night, family, friends, and some people who've never met Andrew, took part in a memorial service to celebrate Andrew's life and to say goodbye. The service made people cry, but at times, it also made people laugh.
Andrew's father, Roy Velez, tells us it warmed his heart to see all the people in attendance. Members of the Patriot Guard carried the flagged-draped casket into the sanctuary, followed by hundreds of people who came to pay their last respects. Roy was joined by several family members. He addressed the crowd, telling happy stories, ones that made people burst out laughing.
Other community leaders also spoke highly about Andrew. "He was one of those men that when called said I will serve. Andrew Velez said I will serve my country," said U.S. Congressman Randy Neugebauer.
"When I shake hands with you in just a moment, it will be for the first time, to my knowledge in our lives, and because of the one that gave his life, we'll have an eternity to shake hands," said Lubbock Mayor David Miller.
"I was told that the building holds 800 and something, and I was excited to know that there was hardly any room to sit," said Roy. While the service was about Andrew, Roy called up all military personnel at the service, those currently serving, and veterans, so he and the crowed could thank them for their service.
Graveside services for Andrew Velez will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Resthaven Memorial Park, located at 19th and Frankford.
Patriotism Overwhelms Protest At Velez Memorial Service
Outside the memorial service for Andrew Velez, hundreds of American flags were waving and motorcycles revving. NewsChannel 11 Videojournalist John Berry shows us how the massive show of patriotism overwhelmed any protests.