HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - His family will never forget walking out of the church after the funeral of Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price -- a husband, a son and a Marine.
"I know when we were walking up the ramp, following the Marines before we came outside, my wife said, 'You should really look to the right, so you're not overwhelmed when you walk outside,'" Price's father Karl Price recalled. "And there were some windows there. I just saw just tons of people, and then you walk out, and you walk past all the Marines at attention, and it just opens up and you see the crowds of people there."
Hundreds and hundreds of people, many with flags, stood outside the church, all quiet, many leaning on motorcycles.
Price's parents and his widow Rachel Price told 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday that they want to thank Holland and the rest of West Michigan for paying respects to their Marine.
"It was overwhelming," Rachel Price said. "It was really overwhelming. It's just amazing to see the support of the community. ... I don't know how to say thank you, you know. They were just amazing and it was very appreciated from all of us. I don't know how to say thank you, but thank you."
They also wanted to thank the mourners and the bikers who became a human shield, protecting the family from protesters who had planned to make a scene at the funeral.
"They didn't want this so-called church to come in and get anywhere near us," Karl Price said.
"They did a good job," Rachel Price said.
Gunnery Sgt. Price, 27, was killed in combat on July 29 while on his sixth tour of duty overall and his third in Afghanistan.
"That's what he did, and he loved it," said his wife of six years. "He loved his job."
"Because he's a warrior," his mother Ruth Price added. "Because God planned for him to be a warrior."
"People don't really realize that there are men out there like that," Price's father said. "They got a little glimpse of it in these last couple weeks."
Price had survived other firefights and had told his mom: "My work on Earth isn't done yet."
But this bullet, his family says, was meant for him.
"My wife would always tell people, there are no stray bullets," Karl Price said.
"No stray bullets," Price's mom said. "Every one has a predetermined location and a time to get there. So, whatever happened to Dan, it's not a mistake. It's planned by God. His life was planned by God, and his death was planned by God."
And, they say, that plan included what happened during Saturday's funeral and procession through Holland. An estimated 1,200 motorcyclists led the procession, and thousands of people lined the route.
"For me to go down the street and to see people holding the flags; there were people that were just crying when we came by," Karl Price said. "You could tell they were very moved. They grieved with us."
One of the Marines told Price's father that Price had a saying: "That's what 'right' looks like. And, that's exactly what 'right' looks like."
Rachel Price now wears her husband's wedding band on a chain around her neck. "I haven't taken it off since I got it," she said.
Her husband's friend, a Marine named John, brought it back with his body, along with his Bible and his cell phone. It was John who folded the flag from Price's casket and presented it to Rachel.
The Bible is worn.
"I would say very worn," his wife said.
"That's a good thing," his mom said.
Rachel Price said she plans to return to San Marcos, Calif., for a memorial service. She owns an exercise studio there, along with the home she shared with her husband. She's not sure what she will do next.
Price's parents say they plan to spend time grieving privately on their hobby farm near Zeeland.
"All I have to do is walk around here a little bit and I see him everywhere, and they're good memories, they're awesome memories," his father said. "But he still isn't coming home. But he is home, so we are very comforted by that."
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