As the body of Airman Chester McBride returned to his hometown in Statesboro on Friday, people lined the streets to show respect for the fallen soldier and his family. Many hoped their presence would convey their support to the family.
“I felt it was my duty to be here to honor one of our fallen soldiers,” said Vietnam veteran Louis Harper.
With flags in hand, those who knew McBride and some who had only heard of him, stood along Main Street as the procession flowed. McBride was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan.
“I thought about his mom, and I thought about the pain she would go through, and the dad, and I just knew it was going to be a very hurtful thing for them to go through it,” Lorraine Raymond said.
“There’s so many ways you can be a hero, but in my opinion, this is the ultimate hero. These guys go out every day and they protect our freedoms that we have here,” George Gabel said.
Aside from their message of support, some added thoughts to send to the family.
“Thank you for raising a young man that has the morals and the values to be able to do what he does,” Gabel said.
Patriotic messages spread, grateful for not only McBride’s sacrifice, but for the community’s gratitude as well.
“This brings joy to my heart, not his death, but seeing the community come together. When I hear the song…’Oh, say can you see’…it just, I just can’t tell you how it just enlightens my heart,” Betty Harper said.