Strafford Soldier Participates in President Bush Funeral Ceremonies

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STRAFFORD, Mo — Michael Penner, 19, is just over a year into his military career and had the chance to be on the honor guard for President George H.W. Bush’s ceremonies.

Penner is in the Army, and is stationed at Fort Myer in Washington D.C.

Yes, while the nation is mourning the loss of it’s 41st President. 

Michael Penner’s parent’s John and Sandy, got the chance to see their son do something very few military members get to do in their career. 

“He’s just still my little baby, so sometimes I forget he’s off in the army,” Sandy says.  

A month after he graduated, Michael was enlisted in the military. Last week, the 19-year-old found out big news that came along with the passing of President George H.W. Bush. 

“He finds out that he gets the chance to be part of the color guard for the ceremony for when former President Bush’s body is coming in from the plane to the hearse,” Sandy says. “I don’t think I realized what a big deal it was until I was telling people and they were getting all excited.”

Sandy says he called his dad first when he found out. John Penner says he and his son either talk or text everyday. 

“I called him as soon as I found out the President had passed away, and I said ‘What’s your role going to be in all this?’ Later that day he called me said ‘I’ve been selected to go to Andrews Air Force Base with my XO.’ Then when he told me he was going to be part of the honor guard there, he was pretty excited. I was probably more excited then he was,” says John. 

Wednesday for the funeral, Michael was next to the hearse, but the family is saving that for after church tonight. 

“I haven’t seen that footage yet, I’ve got that recorded. I’ll watch that later,” says John. “While we are very proud of him we still miss him. He’s still our boy, and we still wish he could be here for the holidays, and wish we could see him more than we do, but he is doing what needs to be done and we are very proud of him.” 

There are five generations of service on Sandy’s side, and three on John’s side, who is a Marine. 

John says they always have some friendly teasing about which branch is better. 

We weren’t able to talk to Michael to get his reflection, but he was able to send us a statement. Michael says: 

“It was an honor to serve alongside the other branches of the military to render honor to our fallen President. I will remember the experience for the rest of my life.” 
 

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