The public is invited to the 11 a.m. funeral service, and is encouraged to arrive early and to wear red, white and blue.
The Georgia Patriot Guard, led by Bob Wetherford of Acworth, will escort Forde’s body from Winkenhofer Funeral Home to NorthStar church at 10:45 a.m. Residents are encouraged to stand along Blue Springs Road leading to the church entrance.
Residents are asked to line up early, by 10 a.m., and flags will be provided by the Patriot Guard.
The service is open to friends, family and members of the community who want to honor Forde’s military service. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked people to make donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, or make donations to a PayPal account set up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scout troops, the Kiwanis Club and other local organizations are expected to attend and be a part of the funeral procession.
“This family needs to see our support,” said Pam Younker, the former chairman of the Cobb County Honorary Commanders Association.
After the service, at noon, about 200 motorcycles with the Patriot Guard will escort Forde’s body from the church to the cemetery, where close friends and family will gather for a private ceremony.
The procession route will leave NorthStar Church, head north on Blue Springs Road to Highway 41, then on Red Top Mountain Road to Interstate 75 North to Georgia Hwy 20 to the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. Residents and others wishing to pay their respects are encouraged to line this route as well.
Decorated solider, family man
Forde was a decorated soldier who graduated from Kennesaw Mountain High School and was a star defensive back on the school’s football team.
He was offered a scholarship to play football at Morehead State University in Kentucky, but decided at the last minute to join the military instead, because he felt he could make more of a difference there, said Forde’s lifelong friend, Jon Barker.
Forde was married to his high school sweetheart, Megan, and had two sons, Ayden, 5, and Devery, 18 months. The family was stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., at the time of his death, but his mother, Metzi, lives off Cheatham Hill Road in west Cobb. The Marietta Kiwanis Club has lined the streets of Forde’s hometown neighborhood with American flags.
Body’s return to Marietta
Forde’s body arrived at McCollum Airport at 7 a.m. Friday, and was met by more than 70 motorcycles with the Patriot Guard.
The Guard escorted Forde’s body and family in 20-degree weather from the airport to Winkenhofer Funeral Home in Kennesaw, Wetherford said.
* The Georgia Patriot Guard will escort Forde’s body at 10:45 a.m. from Lincoln Funeral Home to NorthStar Church. Residents are encouraged to stand along Blue Springs Road leading to the church.
* After the funeral, the motorcade will escort the body to the cemetery. Residents are encouraged to line the road along the route, which will leave NorthStar Church at noon, travel up Blue Springs Road to Highway 41, then on 41 North to Red Top Mountain Road to Interstate 75 North to Ga. Highway 20 to the Georgia National Cemetery.