Dozens of Patriot Guard Riders proudly led U.S. Army Sgt. Joseph Lilly to his final resting place. Flags flanked both sides of the procession route as military veterans saluted the young fallen soldier.
While Sgt. Lilly's family mourn their loss, people who never met Lilly say he's just as much their hero.
"He's a young man doing his duty for a great nation, and if he can give the ultimate, I can come out here and stand for a couple of hours and pay my respects to him,?? Vietnam War veteran Rick Hall said.
Sgt. Lilly died June 14, when insurgents attacked his unit. He was on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. He leaves behind a wife and young son and an army of supporters back home.
"The family's gotta know that we're behind them too,?? supporter Gloria Waite said.
??We want them to know that we care, that it means something to us,?? said Ron Bur, a ride captain for the Patriot Guard.
??We want to let them know that they do not grieve alone and we're here for them,?? an unspoken message conveyed through flags flying at half-staff and a salute to a soldier whose life was not given in vain.
Sgt. Lilly will be buried at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.