KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Westboro, the Kansas based group that believes God is out to punish America, promised to be outside a Knoxville church when friends and family said their goodbyes to soldier Shan Lively. A crowd came ready to take Westboro on.
Overwhelming support thursday when hundreds of people from all walks of life protested westboro baptist church. More importantly those who didn't know the family gave their support for the family of shan lively. Carrying flags and waving signs, people took off work to stand by this fallen soldier. Shan Lively served 12 months in Iraq.
He died friday from heart failure. Sergeant First Class Kim Bro says, "He always joked around and had a good sense of humor."
When Westboro learned of the funeral, they sent a flyer saying God hates America, military funerals are pagan orgies, and thank God for IED's. Their message spread on Facebook and people came ready to take them on. Chad Butcher says, "I know their history and it's rude and inconsiderate to do this to a family who has already lost a father friend."
Such a big crowd, Knoxville Police allowed them to get closer than the regulated 500 feet. Captain Bob Wooldridge says, "We've had a good turnout. Eveyone's been good, safe and lawful and cooperative to work with us."
Bro says, "It's awesome they're showing support to someone they don't even know."
In the end Westboro Baptist Church didn't show up, but the protestors say that's not the point. They're showing their message that they don't stand for hatred and they support our local troops.