Family and loved ones welcomed home the remains of a soldier from Terrell who died in action in Afghanistan late last month.
Army Staff Sgt. Shawn McNabb's remains arrived at about noon at an airport in Greenville on Wednesday. Fire trucks and police cars led the procession to his hometown of Terrell.
Flag-waving crowds greeted it along the way. Some people had never met the young man but stopped to pay their respects anyway.
“It could be our boys in the future,” Felicia Spencer said. “It's sad.”
McNabb, 24, an Army medic, graduated from Terrell High School in 2003. He died in action in Afghanistan late last month.
Shaye Burleson, who was in the Terrell High School band with McNabb, shed tears remembering him.
“If someone was down, Shawn would come around and say something to make that person feel so much better about themselves,” she said.
Robert Horton played high school soccer with McNabb. Both entered the military after graduation.
“He was pretty much the guy that was there to make you laugh when you were down,” he said.
The soldier’s parents rode in the procession and passed beneath a giant American flag suspended from an arch of fire ladder trucks at the funeral home.
His father, David McNabb, is a former firefighter, and a dozen different fire departments took part in the procession.
David and Ann McNabb thanked the crowd of people outside the funeral home for their support.
“You saw the flags on the roads, you saw the flags in people’s hands,” David McNabb said. “My son was a hero; he really was a hero.”
Ann McNabb said the support was comforting. She said she hoped people heard a message from his life.
“Make something of you life,” she said. “Don’t waste your life -- that’s something I want to say that Shawn taught us.”
Funeral services will be held Friday at First Baptist Church in Terrell with a military burial to follow at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in Dallas.