Army Staff Sgt. Jeremie Border, who was killed in combat Sept. 1 in Batur Village, Afghanistan, was laid to rest Monday in Mesquite.
The Department of Defense said Border and another soldier, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Schmidt, were killed by small arms fire.
Border, 28, was a member of the elite Green Berets and a graduate of Mesquite High School, where he played on the 2001 state champion football team. After high school, he attended McMurray University in Abilene, where he played football for four years before graduating in 2006.
Border's funeral was held at the Family Cathedral of Praise, where a community of mourners carrying American flags lined the streets to pay their last tribute to the fallen sergeant. None of the mourners knew him personally but were touched by his death.
"This is a sacrifice this mom and dad made, and we just want them to know we love them and thank them for their sacrifice," Mesquite resident Lois Buford said through tears.
"It's got to be very hard for them right now, and I just want to reach out and give them a hug and let them know that we appreciate them," she said.
The mourners said they understood what Border did for America and what he died for.
"It's patriotism -- it's based on this whole county -- is what he died for, and I feel it's right that we come out and support him and celebrate everything he's done for us and mourn his loss," Mesquite student Sterling Foster said.
Members of the Patriot Guard carried flags for Border.
"It's gut-wrenching," said Dan Mathys, of the Patriot Guard. "I've talked with some of the soldiers that knew him, and it's very tough on them, and it's hard on us -- and we didn't even know the man -- because he's one of us."