February 16, 2011
HARROD — Hundreds of small, hand-held American flags waved in silent tribute Wednesday morning. The dozens of people lining Harding Highway were joined by pupils and staff at Allen East School for the brief, emotional homecoming of a fallen hero.The flag-draped casket carrying the body of Army Spc. Nathan B. Carse, 32, made the somber journey through Mustang country on its way to Hanson-Neely Funeral Home in Ada. Escorted by more than 25 vehicles, including fire apparatus and Sheriff's Office cruisers, the procession slowed as it passed the school on its way from the Allen County Airport to Ada.“We're just a small community so when stuff like this happens it affects all of us. His youngest sister and my sister were very good friends in school,” Katie Moots said. “We would all run into each other every now and then. With it being Allen East, a small community, everyone knows everyone. He was older than me but we definitely knew him. He was the sweetest kid alive. He's going to be missed.”There were tears and sobs as the procession approached and the hearse passed. Young and old alike turned out in the tight-knit community.“I thought I ought to come out, pass out flags,” said Sam McClure, a Jackson Township trustee. “I think it shows a lot of respect and shows a lot of him to have so many come out.”Carse died Feb. 8 after insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, the military said. Carse graduated from Allen East in 1997.A large American flag hung over the scene, hoisted on ladder trucks from the Bluffton and Perry Township fire departments. Harding Highway was closed just west of Phillips Road to make room for the procession.Standing along the road watching the procession, flag in hand, was Tim Hobensack, an Army veteran. The scene hit a little closer to home, Hobensack said, because of his family's history with the Army.“I was in the service, my daughter was in Afghanistan,” he said. “It means a lot.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.