Thousands of people in St. Louis joined a funeral procession Wednesday to pay their respects to Corporal Marine Lance Jared Schmitz, 20, who was the youngest U.S. military member killed in the bomb attack. at the Kabul airport that killed more than 170 people.
Mourners brought American flags and firefighters flew even larger flags from the aerial ladders of their trucks. A thousand Patriot Guard motorcyclists joined the procession, which was so crowded that it eventually forced the Missouri State Highway Patrol to close the interstate to westbound traffic.
Luther Loughridge, a 60-year-old retired U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant greeted Schmitz for over 20 minutes.
“He is the last of the war in Afghanistan, and he is the last victim,” Loughridge told the Associated Press. “He gave his whole life and, as a veteran, we respond to that. ”
For more information from the Associated Press, see below:
In the hearse carrying one of the 13 US servicemen killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan two weeks ago, Faye Hillis thought of all the military veterans she had cried for at the only funeral home in her hometown.
His father who came home from WWII. His cousin who died in Vietnam. Too many friends and neighbors to count.
“I’m having all these flashbacks,” he said Wednesday as school children, families and veterans lined the two main streets of town to honor Army Corpsman Maxton Soviak.
While the war in Afghanistan is over, its harsh reality is still coming home, as Americans are now beginning to honor and bury the latest victims who returned from a 20-year war that claimed more than 2,400 American lives.
Stars and stripes of all sizes and homemade “thank you for your service” signs decorated the procession route through northern Ohio, where Soviak, 22, grew up before joining the Navy.
These are scenes that will be repeated in the coming days in places like Omaha, Nebraska; Laredo, Texas; Logansport, Indiana; and Sacramento, California; for the 13 who died in the bomb attack on August 26 at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan during the frenzied airlift in the final days of the conflict.
On a clear morning in rural Ohio, military veterans on motorcycles escorted Soviak’s wreckage the last 8 miles (13 kilometers) to his hometown, passing the neighboring town first. Here’s a brief summary.