Alex Branch

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Missionary Martin Burnham’s life capped by joyous funeral in Kansas

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Gracia Burnham
Gracia Burnham is wheeled into the memorial service for her husband, Martin, June 14. Her youngest son, Zach, is to her right. Martin and Gracia were held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf for more than a year in the Philippines. Martin was killed June 7 during a Philippine military rescue attempt. Photo by Jeff Tuttle of The Wichita Eagle
      ROSE HILL, Kan. (BP)--Every night, as he was being handcuffed to a tree deep in the Philippine jungle, Martin Burnham would look his armed captors in the eye and say, "Thank you very much."
      Then the missionary would wish them good night.
      He did this, his wife told friends, because he was determined to stay joyous during the most trying time of his life.
      So friends and relatives of the slain native of Rose Hill, Kan., followed Martin Burnham's lead June 14, staying joyous through the tears of a two-hour memorial service that drew an estimated 2,600 people.