Tribute to slain soldier stretches from Ponca City to Arkansas City

People lined the route from Ponca City, Okla., to a funeral home in Arkansas City today to honor the return home of Sgt. Tyler Juden, who was killed in Afghanistan last week.

"It was pretty amazing. It was kind of breathtaking," said David York, funeral director at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home in Arkansas City.

Juden's body arrived by military plane in Ponca City about 11:40 a.m. and was escorted to the funeral home by about 50 Patriot Guard members, arriving about 1 p.m., York said.

Mourners lined the route in Ponca City and even Newkirk, Okla., he said.

A crowd whose size he couldn't estimate waited for the procession in Arkansas City.

"It was even more breathtaking because everybody was outside," York said.

Juden, 23, was killed on Sept. 12 when enemy forces attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire near Turan, Afghanistan.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the W.S. Scott Auditorium on the campus of Cowley Community College, 216 W. Fifth Ave.

Schools in Arkansas City will close at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to allow students and faculty to attend the funeral. Juden's parents, Bob and Reatha Juden, are teachers.

Gov. Mark Parkinson has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for two days this week to honor Juden and Cpl. Daniel Cox, 23, of Parsons.

Cox, who attended grade school in Winfield before moving to Parsons, also died Sept. 12 in a separate incident in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by a bomb and small-arms fire. Cox's funeral is set for this afternoon in Parsons.