CORVALLIS, Ore. — Some were friends and family, others just wanted to help celebrate the life of Spc. Cody Patterson.
A memorial was held in honor of the 24-year-old Sunday afternoon, at the LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus. Thousands gathered to remember Patterson for the bravery he faced while serving his country in Afghanistan.
“We’re out here to help his family and to try to make things better here today,” said Albany resident Grace Berkhart, who lost her son during the Vietnam War. “It hurts when you see people losing their son.”
Friends and family say it’s not easy summing up how special Patterson truly was.
“Trying to think of something short to say about Cody is a lot like opening an 8 billion piece puzzle and trying to pick which piece to take to show and tell,” said Cody’s sister Taylor Patterson.
The family told a few jokes, trying to share their most vivid memories of a young man who they say was destined to serve his country.
“Cody on the other hand played with army guys, little army guys, it was always something army,” remembered Cody’s father Randall Patterson.
His best friend Tyler Lewis added, “He knew that serving his country was what he needed to do, what he was meant to do.”
“Mom wanted him to be a florist,” Cody’s sister Nicole Patterson shared with the crowd. “But he was an army guy.”
Cody’s death has shaken the small Philomath community, but his service is something those who never even met him are proud of. Hundreds of Patriot Guard Riders lined the streets, to support the family of the fallen Philomath High School graduate. Bill Vaughan, the district captain of the Patriot Guard Riders said it was great to see so many people attend Patterson’s memorial.
“[It] just warms your heart to know that everybody cared so much about the family,” Vaughan said.
The crowd paused for a moment of silence, to honor the beloved hero. Cody Patterson’s family was given a folded flag to honor him. They also received a bronze star of valor for Cody’s heroism.
Spc. Cody Patterson was killed on October 6 in Afghanistan, when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device.