Mid-Michigan soldier laid to rest

The Patriot Guard Rider attended the funeral for Pfc. Brian Backus in Harbor Beach, MI.

A Mid-Michigan soldier has been laid to rest.

Funeral services were held Thursday afternoon at the Harbor Beach High School for Pfc. Brian Backus.

Nearly 100 Patriot Guard Riders, family, friends, neighbors, even strangers gathered in and around the school to honor and celebrate Backus' life.

"Why are we here? We are here to respect this man, this private gave up his life for his country, he gave up his life for our freedom," said Patriot Guard ride captain, Ken Talant said.

In the military, Backus, 21, was a combat medic in the Army. But at home, Backus love the outdoors and spending time with his two-year-old son, Jack.

Brian had several friends attend who he had gone to high school with. "He was the happiest person I knew, big huge smile, he did anything for anybody, he'd give you the shirt off of his back if he had to," Sara Tombs said.

Following the ceremony, the Patriot Guard Riders lead the funeral procession to Rock Fall Cemetery in Harbor Beach where Backus was laid to rest.

Funeral directors estimate around 1500 people attended the funeral service Thursday.

The Westboro Baptist Church had originally stated that they were going to protest at the funeral. Many people from around the community were at the funeral, ready to stop the protestors from getting anywhere near the family and friends gathered to remember Pfc. Backus.

The controversial church group never showed up.

NBC25 will have full coverage on the funeral on NBC25 News at 6:00 p.m.