Family, friends and Chicago notables packed Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side Tuesday to say their final goodbye to Army Specialist Michael Isaiah Nance, a Chicago soldier killed in Afghanistan late last month.
Nance was buried with full military honors at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood Tuesday afternoon following a procession and funeral service.
"Isaiah's sacrifice will never be forgotten," said Brigadier General Mark O'Connell.
Among the attendees at the service were Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
"He gave his life to his country so his nation could be free," Lightfoot said during the funeral service.
Nance's fellow soldiers served as pallbearers and helped carry the beloved soldier to his final resting place.
"Rest in peace little cuz," said Nance's cousin Paul Gregoire. "We will carry your memory with us."
Nance was among two U.S. Paratroopers killed when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a military camp in the Uruzgan Province of Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
The Department of Defense announced Nance's death in late-July saying the "combat related incident" is under investigation.
"This loss is crushing," O'Connell said. "It's emotional, it's heartwrenching... we are still trying to come to grips with their loss."
Nance grew up on Chicago's South Side before moving to the suburbs. He was stationed at Fort Bragg and had been deployed to Afghanistan two weeks before his death.
"He was a real advocate of embracing every day," said Nance's cousin Trevor Harris. "He fought for his country. He did what he loved."
"He died a a hero," Harris added. "What better legacy is that?"