KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Those who attended the funeral for Captain Dave Melton walked beneath hundreds of flags held aloft by members of the Patriot Guard and The VFW Riders. Captain Melton served 17 years on the Kansas City, Kan. Police Department and 26 in the Kansas National Guard.
Sweltering heat didn't keep the patriots and vets from holding their flags high in support of an officer, veteran and hero who died serving.
The low rumble of motorcycles adorned with waving starts and stripes served as a message of comfort to family and protection to law enforcement officers.
As retired Navy veteran Don "Sailor" Harden address a crowd of riders he said, "This has been a rough few months as you know. This has gotten way out of hand and we need to show that we are there with them."
A line of hundreds of combat-seasoned vets fell in, many promising "We have their backs."
"It's supposed to be safer over here than it is in a combat zone, unfortunately lately it's not, and that is a shame" said Harden.
Captain Dave Melton was also a decorated combat veteran. He served with the Kansas National Guard through two tours of duty: one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. The display of steely-eyed support amidst today's scalding temperatures would have made him proud, and thankful.
Army Veteran Conrad Ilse said, "It's a small price to pay to honor someone who serves us, who put his life on the line to protect the people in the United States of America."
One by one as police officers filed by on their way into the funeral, they extended a hand, grateful for the support and protection that allowed them to grieve one of their own in peace.
"Thank you", they said in low tones.
"We wouldn't be here without you," the guards murmured back.
Men and women who may have retired from military service years ago, showed that they are still willing to protect and serve, simply by standing guard.
With tears near the surface, Harper said, "Nobody asks for any recognition or thanks. We are here for the family. We are trying to thank them."