Fallen Hero Arrives in County Wednesday
By Heather Menzies
Matagorda County will welcome home a fallen hero
to the Bay City Municipal Airport when Sgt. Joshua Ward's body
arrives around 11:30 a.m. today.
Sgt. Ward's funeral, that will be open to the public, will be held
at 3 p.m. in Bay City's First Baptist Church on Friday, Feb. 20.
"I would like us to be the county that shows no matter what happens
in politics, this is beyond politics, this is our service men dying
for us and we appreciate their sacrifice," said Bobby Head, local
coordinator for patriotic displays and Ward's reception.
"It doesn't make me any difference whether he lived (as far away as)
Kansas, he died for us and we should go to every length to show our
love and respect."
A proper military reception will be held for the family to receive
their loved one home and the public is welcome to attend and show
A car will transport the body from the airport to lie in state at
Baker Funeral Home in West Columbia, north on FM 2540 and east on
The community is encouraged to take a break from work to line the
procession route waving American flags and homemade signs with
"I know a lot of people still have the hand held flags that we
passed out for (Cpl. David McComick's) funeral in May and we really
hope they will bring the flags they already have," said Head.
While the Ward family originally intended to hold Joshua's funeral
in his hometown of Needville, the funeral service was moved to First
Baptist Church in Bay City in order to accommodate the amount of
people who are expected to attend and show their respects.
"We know that some inaccurate information about the funeral was
circulated through email and fax stating that the funeral would be
at the Baker Funeral Home in West Columbia at 1 p.m. on Friday,"
"That is not accurate and we want to get the word out that the
funeral will be at First Baptist Church here in Bay City at 3 p.m.
The Rev. Ralph Howard will officiate Ward's funeral.
"(Howard) was Josh's youth minister growing up in Needville and has
stayed real close with Josh through the years," said Head.
"He's a Baptist preacher in Louisville, Kentucky now and he's going
to come down and do the service."
First Baptist Church in Bay City will seat 600 and the public is
invited to attend the funeral.
Those who would like to attend the funeral are encouraged to arrive
The local Woodmen of the World Lodge will pass out handheld flags in
the church parking lot and for those who line the procession route
on Texas 60 and Texas 35.
"We would basically do the same type of funeral procession going up
Texas 60 turning east on Highway 35 and then the procession will
follow the hearse all the way back to West Columbia," said Head.
Following the service, the body will be taken back to Baker Funeral
Home and will depart at 8 a.m. Saturday morning for the graveside
service at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.