Wyatt MartinArmy Spc. Wyatt Martin will be laid to rest next to his grandparents, Robert and Wanda Grace, at Maple Hill Cemetery in Charlotte on Saturday, July 11. Martin, 22, was killed in Afghanistan on Dec. 12, 2014 when an improvised explosive device (IED) struck his vehicle.
In an effort to honor the fallen hero — who has local ties — Pray Funeral Home is urging community members to line the path from the funeral home to Maple Hill Cemetery — approximately 1.6 miles. The procession will begin at Pray Funeral Home, located at 401 W. Seminary Street in Charlotte, at 10:45 a.m. The procession will travel east on Seminary Street to Cochran Avenue, then north to Lawrence Avenue, east to Lansing Road, then north to Tully Brown Drive, the entrance to Maple Hill Cemetery.
Community members are urged to be in place by 10:30 a.m.
“We were surprised by the amount of community response in wanting to do more to honor this young man,” said Joe E. Pray, co-owner of Pray Funeral Home. “So we decided to try and keep it as organized as possible and allow our community to show their support and respect for this young man and his service to our country.”
Martin’s family will hold a private service at the cemetery.
Martin grew up in Mesa, Ariz., graduating from Mesa’s Skyline High School before enlisting in the United States Army.
“I wasn’t sure about doing interviews, but we want to make sure people realize he wasn’t there just for us, he was there for them. He looked at it like ‘hey protect us over there, so it doesn’t happen here.’ He’s not just our kid, he’s everybody’s, he’s an American soldier and as an American soldier he belongs to everybody,” Martin’s parents Brian and Julie Martin told Fox 10 in Phoenix in December.
United States President Barack Obama mentioned Martin’s sacrifice in his Memorial Day address this past May, saying, “Wyatt’s life was animated by the belief that the blessings that he and his family enjoyed as Americans came with an obligation to give back, an obligation to serve.  So before he pursued his dream of being a good steward of the great outdoors, he enlisted in the Army. And when he deployed to Afghanistan as a combat engineer, there was no doubt in his mind that he was doing the right thing.  Last summer, Wyatt told his sister, ‘If something happens to me, know that I went happy.’”