CLAY CO., GA (WALB) - As the procession carrying First Lieutenant Weston Lee's body went through Clay County, including the soldier's hometown, people payed their respects.
As residents watched the hearse, they remembered the young man they watched grow up.
"He was a very nice young man," said family friend Deanna Bertrand. with tears in her eyes. "He loved God, and his family and his country and he made the supreme sacrifice for it."
Others who didn't know him, paid their respects.
"My heart just goes out to the family," said Patricia Thornton, a Clay County resident.
1st Lieutenant Weston Lee died in Iraq last month.
"I'm a vet myself and I feel it as a duty to come out and pay my respects to him," said family friend Walt Killingsworth.
Groups of people gathered to watch as the procession moved from Fort Benning to Blakely.
"He was one of the ones who fought to make our country free," said 10-year-old Ragan Harrell. "He was the one who fought for us."
Harrell watched the procession with his mom and friends, waving his American Flag as the hearse drove by.
"It was extremely emotional," recalled 15-year-old Joseph Worsley. "Like you can tell people really love the community around here."
People watched as the procession drove past the 25-year-old's Bluffton home. Some, with their own memories of Lee.
"I always looked up to him," said eighth grader at the Southwest Georgia Academy, Rylan O'Hearn.
O'Hearn said Lee had always been a role model to him. Lee was a star student and athlete at the academy. He graduated in 2010.
"He always called my name in the hallway. He always liked to hang out with me because I was a fun little kid."
With tears in his eyes, O'Hearn remembered the last time he saw Weston Lee in December.
"I said Hey Weston, he said hey buddy and that was it," said O'Hearn.
On a wooden American flag outside his home, O'Hearn wrote one final message for his hero.
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