In the field house of the high school he once attended, family, friends and fellow soldiers gather to remember Army National Guard Sgt. Matthew Soper.
His funeral was held at Lumen Christi High School Tuesday morning. It was picked because no other place in Jackson could accommodate the expected crowd. Hundreds of people wearing yellow bracelets and ribbons filled chairs and bleachers.
During the funeral, a family member said of Matthew, "He was larger then life. He was extreme. The absolute joy and rib aching laughter he brought into the room will never be forgotten."
Sgt. Soper, 25, was killed in Iraq June 6th. He was a member of the Jackson based Army National Guard 1461st Transportation Company. It was his second tour in Iraq. He knew his job as a gunner was dangerous, but his family says he loved serving his country.
Outside of the high school, members of the Patriot Guard Riders lined the drive. Barb Mitchell came from Kalamazoo. "We provide support for the family and pay our respects through standing a flag line and demonstrating we respect our soldiers and their families," Mitchell says.
Groups of people lined the streets leading to the cemetery. All for one of Jackson's own.