Top Ten Story 2012: The ‘Maroon Wall’

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

A Texas A&M graduate, Lt. Colonel Roy Tisdale, was killed by a fellow soldier earlier this year. His funeral was attended not just by many inside the church, but also outside. Hundreds of people formed a 'maroon wall' after a protest group threatened to picket the church.

This story was chosen by News Three viewers as the number 7 local story of 2012.

In the July hot midafternoon, around the open fields of a College Station Church, hundreds of people lined up to protect a soldier who defended our country.

We are standing here quietly. We are here for the family,” said Lilly McAlister, one of the organizers for the ‘maroon wall.’ "We are positioned with our backs to them. Everyone has been told there's no chanting, no singing, there's no yelling anything back.”

It’s solidarity that these supporters feel LTC Roy Tisdale and his family deserves during this tragic time.

"You don't bury your children, the children bury their parents, but you don't bury your children,” said his mother.

The former Corps of Cadets member and Texas A&M graduate was killed by another soldier at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Keeping the ceremony peaceful was the goal for hundreds of people from all over the state.

"My motivation was to come out and protect the family from some people that are spewing some really nasty, nasty messages,” said Kent Gibbs, a Texas A&M graduate.

A church group from Kansas targets military funerals because of a belief that God punishes soldiers because of America's tolerance of gays. That group never showed up as threatened, but Aggies and even those from other schools formed a human wall around the Central Baptist Church just in case.

Tisdale served in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and graduated from Texas A&M in 1992. His tours of duty included both Iraq and Afghanistan.

We will continue our countdown of the top ten local stories of 2012 throughout the week until the new year.

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