Sunday will be a celebration for most families as they watch loved ones cross the stage at the University of Texas at Arlington's graduation ceremonies.
It's a day of remembrance for Jeremy Smith's family as the university honors the fallen soldier with a bachelor's degree. Smith was a staff sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and was killed in Afghanistan.
"It was our future. He was so excited to do it. I was so proud that he was getting his degree," Smith's widow Rachel said.
Smith's dream is now being fulfilled. the 26-year-old was just a few hours shy of completing his degree in interdisciplinary studies when he was killed. UTA is honoring him with his degree posthumously.
"You always think that of course it could happen, but you never actually think that it would until you get the knock on the door from the Marine Corps," Rachel said.
His family hope his death will inspire others.
"I hope it's motivating and he shows people that you can do it. It doesn't matter who you are," Rachel said.
"This experience has forced me to get to know him as a man, and I have been completely blown away. Completely blown away," Smith's father Jerry Smith said.