7:43 AM PDT, September 14, 2021
Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz received a hero’s welcome last week, as the 20-year-old’s body was transferred from a Missouri airport to a funeral home.
An honor guard led the Humvee that carried his casket, while mourners lined the streets to pay their respects to a fallen service member.
“It was always a chance I wouldn’t come back after three tours in Iraq. I’m out here with my fellow soldiers to show my support,” one mourner said.
Schmitz received a seven-hour public visitation, where all were welcome. Strangers and loved ones alike came to show love to him and his grieving family.
“The one thing I said [to the parents] is I don’t know what to say to you,” one person said. “What do you say to somebody that their entire life has just been dismantled and now they’re expected to move on?”
Schmitz was one of 13 service members killed in Afghanistan in August by a suicide bomber. The remains of the 11 men and two women, who ranged in age from 20 to 31, landed on American soil, and are now making their final journeys home.
Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover was killed in the same bombing.
“Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover made the ultimate sacrifice defending Afghan civilians and leading fellow Marines,” read a GoFundMe page created for his loved ones.
In 11 years in the Marine Corps, Staff Sergeant Darrin Taylor Hoover served three tours of duty. He leaves behind a fiancé in California and parents in Utah.