Patriots Line Streets for Fallen Soldier

Sgt. Christopher Abeyta one of 3 Illinois National Guardsmen killed in Afghanistan

By Zach Christman
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:44 PM CDT
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Heartbreaking Homecoming

Illinois Army National Guard

Sgt. Christopher Abeyta

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Thousands Line Streets for Soldier's Funeral Procession

Hundreds, if not thousands of people came out for an amazing show of patriotism for a fallen Illinois National Guardsman, lining the streets from Midway to Midlothian for his funeral procession.

Heartbreaking Homecoming

Sgt. Christopher Abeyta is remembered as Midlothian's first son; the first soldier from the city to die in combat since the Vietnam War.
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Hundreds, if not thousands of people came out in a powerful display of patriotism for a fallen Illinois National Guardsman, lining the streets from Midway to Midlothian for his funeral procession.

Sgt. Christopher Abeyta, 23, died in Afghanistan with two other members of the Illinois National Guard on March 15.

The procession from Midway Airport to Hickey Funeral Home in Midlothian was led by a fire engine, dozens of veterans riding motorcycles and a truck with two U.S. flags.  Fire trucks at stations along the route were pulled out with their ladders raised, flying enourmous flags as Abeyta's casket passed.  Police, other guardsmen and average citizens stood with their hands over their hearts as the massive procession slowly rolled by.

Residents were urged to view the procession, according to the Southtown Star, which published the route it would take.

Abeyta's cousin, Steven Smith, said he died doing what he loved.  One of Abeyta's friends, Shannon, described him as a "great person" who always wanted to help others.

Abeyta's funeral is scheduled for Friday.

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