A veteran of the Vietnam War will be honored this Veterans Day after one of his relatives asked that his remains be escorted back home.
Marty Rust died in Connecticut earlier this year. His family in the Chicago area made it their mission to bring his remains home in time for Veterans Day.
Jacqueline Agee said she wishes she had spoken more to her cousin - a decorated combat photographer in the Vietnam War, saying it was "kind of guilt of my own [for] not reaching out more to a cousin that was in Vietnam" that spurred the homecoming.
But like so many - her cousin’s return home was not easy.
"The majority of them wanted to be left alone, they didn't want anything to do with family because they were dealing with their own mental demons," Agee said.
The images Rust captured through his lens likely paled in comparison to the horrors of war that he witnessed. Agee said her cousin came home after the war to his family on Chicago's Southwest Side, but a short time later lost his brother who also served in Vietnam.
"I think that drew Marty even deeper into whatever he was going through emotionally, and he stepped away from the family," she said.
Agee said her 75-year-old cousin died in September in Connecticut with no family around him - and what the funeral home told them after his death did not sit well.
"The cheapest way to get him home was to have him cremated and mailed home," she said.
Jacqueline turned her guilt into action and put a cry for help on social media. Connecticut’s Patriot Guard answered. They escorted Rust’s body from the morgue to a funeral home in Connecticut and have arranged for Chicago-area Patriot Guard riders to greet him on Veterans Day.
"The Connecticut Patriot was willing to do whatever it took - a motorcycle, by car, truck whatever - to transport him all across the state lines to get him here," said Edward Conn of the Indiana Patriot Guard.
"I do find it amazing that he's being honored on coming home on Veterans Day, which he definitely deserves that," Agee said.
A Connecticut Patriot Guard member will carry Rust’s remains on an airplane and bring them to O’Hare International Airport, where Chicago-area Patriot Guard riders will bring Rust to his family members who now live in Indiana.
The veteran's remains are expected to arrive at O'Hare Wednesday morning.