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(Middleville, Mich.) "This was a tragedy for our family," Bobby
Rousch said a few days after his brother Nick, an Army corporal, was buried
with full military honors in Mount Hope Cemetery in Middleville. Nick was
killed Aug. 16 near Herat, Afghanistan, when the Humvee he was in was
overturned by a roadside bomb.
"But there are some amazing things happening because of it," Bobby went on. He is an '07 Cornerstone grad and former member of the Golden Eagles golf team.
"We have had calls from people all over the country that saw the funeral, and we are getting questions about our faith and how God has helped us through these difficult times. How amazing would that be if our loss helped bring people to Christ? I've already had people we've met through our ordeal asking questions, and I think they will follow up and really try to reach out to Jesus."
Thousands of area residents lined the streets when Nick's coffin was moved from Grand Rapids' Gerald R. Ford Airport to the funeral home in Middleville."It was pretty amazing," Bobby said. "One thing I will never forget is looking up to where the work is progressing on the new roof at the airport, and here were groups of construction workers standing near the edge with their hats off and their hands over their hearts.
"There were thousands of people along the route, kids and adults, many with flags or signs. It seemed as if the whole world had come to a stop and everybody had come out to remember Nick and honor him for his service and sacrifice."
Friends from First Baptist Church pitched in to make things easier for the Rousch family. "They made meals for us, got our shirts ironed for the funeral. We even got a car to drive for the week with air conditioning. We don't have a large church, maybe 500 people for a Sunday service. The church had hit a little bump, we were losing families, then this happened, and everybody came together. It was really good to see that happen."
Faith had always been a big part of Bobby Rousch's life, and he admits that faith played a large role in getting his family through such a trying week. "I don't know what we would have done without our faith," he said. "I remember one night when we were sitting together talking about what we'd been told by the Army liaison people. At that time they didn't have a lot of information for us, and we were struggling.
"My grandfather, who is pastor of a small church in Lowell, made the best point. He said we had to rely on the sovereignty of God. We don't know why this happened, but we didn't have to know. We just had to rely on God to be faithful to us. And he has been."
Rousch has a great- uncle who is a Vietnam vet who went through a tremendous loss when his platoon was ambushed. He was the only one to make it back alive. When he returned he was harassed at the airport and ridiculed for wearing the uniform."It has been very traumatic for him for more than 30 years,' Rousch said. "But he was in the bus with in the procession us coming from the airport. Afterwards he said it restored his faith in America. It was pretty cool to hear that from him. It was like a door opened, or a weight had been lifted off his shoulders after 30 years."
At military funerals, a rifle volley is fired, then Taps is played as a final salute. "That was so emotional," Rousch said. "It's like it brings everything to a close, you realize that all of this is real."
Bobby Rousch will continue to rely on his faith through the difficult days ahead."It won't get any easier," he said. "All I can do is hope that somehow there are people who are brought to Christ because of what we have had to go through."