Miles of traffic on Interstate 70 in St. Louis were shut down Wednesday while the remains of a Marine killed in Afghanistan were escorted to a funeral home.
“Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz was among 13 U.S. service members killed last month in a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul. Schmitz, 20, was from Wentzville, Missouri, in St. Charles County. He was a 2019 graduate of Fort Zumwalt South High School,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The escort from Lambert International Airport to the funeral home in St. Charles included Patriot Guard Riders, police, firefighters, servicemembers, veterans, and civilians.
“American flags were in many hands, and those stopped along the highway got out of their vehicles as the procession passed,” according to Lincoln News Now.
Video footage showed citizens decorating overpasses with American flags and signs:
Facebook user Adam Hendrix shared photos of bikers getting ready for the procession:
Honoring our Marine Corp hero and his family 🙏🏼🇺🇸Jared M. Schmitz, KIAUSMC – WoTSt. Louis, Missouri -…
“We gather to pay our respects to this young man who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and for every one of us,” he wrote.
During an interview in August, Schmitz’s father, Mark Schmitz, said his son had always dreamed of joining the U.S. Armed forces.
“[Becoming a Marine] is something he always wanted to do and I’ve never seen a young man train as hard as he did to be the best soldier he could be,” he commented.
At the airport on Wednesday, Rodney Bledsoe of the Missouri Patriot Guard Riders told a reporter that being part of the procession was the least the group could do for the family.
“You’ll notice, you walk around here and you see the people. Their hearts are broken, and everybody’s grateful that they are here to support this grieving family,” he said.
Social media users also expressed their sadness over the 13 servicemembers who died, one writing, “My heart aches for the 13. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten. God Bless you all!”
“My heart goes out to the family of this fallen hero, Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz! That was a beautiful procession!” another commented.