On the afternoon of Sunday, July 4th, Army SPC Blair Thompson was presented with military honors at Fort Stanwix National Monument. The 19-year-old, who hailed from nearby Rome, New York, was killed in Afghanistan on June 25th when his unit was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades fired by insurgents. The ceremony was attended by approximately 500 people, including U.S. Representative Michael Arcuri, and local, county and state officials.
The funeral mass was conducted at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church adjacent to Fort Stanwix. The procession then walked to the fort's grounds, where the military honors were presented. Afterwards, the procession drove six miles to a local cemetery past people lining the road holding U.S. flags.
Prior to the presentation of military honors, the park conducted public readings of the Declaration of Independence at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. During the program introductions, attendees were asked to remember Thompson and the ultimate sacrifice he gave to his country and its people.
Thompson is the fourth serviceman and servicewoman from the Rome community and the 11th from the county to be killed in action while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the second time military honors were presented at Fort Stanwix. Marine Lance Cpl. Blaise Oleski, 22, was presented military honors at the fort on June 16, 2009.