HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - This was a day meant for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price and his family.
"I'm out here to honor and respect Daniel Price, who gave his life for our country," said Tammy Kellogg, of Grandville, who has a son in the military.
And she was along the funeral procession route on Saturday for another reason; one of thousands and thousands who lined the city streets.
This was not, she said, going to be a day for the protesters who threatened to create a scene.
"I came here as part of the human shield, yes sir," she said.
It was a human shield organized through Facebook and by word-of-mouth.
Just down the way, former Marine Tom Payton was also there to join the human shield "to make sure that none of the protesters coming to town interfere with this."
He said he was among a throng of retired Marines along the procession route.
"Marines are brothers throughout time, even 100 years from now, we'll still be brothers," he said.
They were joined by an estimated 1,200 bikers, many part of a group known as the Patriot Guard Riders.
Before the funeral at Central Wesleyan Church, police met with the riders, along with organizers of the human shield. At least 40 officers worked security and crowd control.
The protesters from Westboro Baptist Church took out a permit to protest, Holland Department of Public Safety Director Matt Messer said. "We have information they may have been in some of our area hotels," Messer said.
The Westboro protesters believe the deaths of U.S. soldiers and other acts of violence are God's way of punishing the country for accepting homosexuality.
On Monday President Barack Obama signed a law requiring protesters be at least 300 feet from military funerals, two hours before and after the events. Violators could face fines and up to two years in prison.
The Holland police chief said there were reports the protesters were preparing something near Pilgrim Home Cemetery.
"We had some indication there may have been someone here in this area in the cemetery representing that group," Messer said.
But in the end, not a word, not a protest -- only flags, tears and the rumbles of motorcycles as they led the procession from the church to the cemetery.
"They may be here, I don't know," the chief said. "But with this kind of support and this much crowd, this many people here right now, if they were here, they probably don't want to show their faces, or they left town."
That left mourners to focus on Sgt. Price, the 27-year-old Holland Marine who was on his sixth deployment in Afghanistan when he was killed in hostile action .
Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price joined the Marines in 2003. He served three tours in Iraq and was on his third tour in Afghanistan, his parents Ruth and Karl told 24 Hour News 8 earlier in the week. Price earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart while serving his country.
A day that started with anger towards out-of-state protesters became a day of love and honor towards Gunnery Sgt. Price, his family and Rachel, his wife of six years.
"It makes me feel proud," said Payton, the former Marine. "It makes me feel proud to be a Marine, makes me proud to be an American, it makes me proud to be from this town."
To view more photos of Gunnery Sgt. Price's funeral procession, click here to see Ken Kolker's photo gallery on WOODTV.com .
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