MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A fallen local marine returns home. Corporal Nathan Carlson and four other marines died during a training exercise in California earlier this month. On Thursday, the Stateline came together for a procession.
The streets were lined along the route of the honor escort for the fallen marine. Family and friends say it’s bittersweet to finally say their goodbyes.
Jude Phillips, a family friend, says, “We’re all happy to be here. It is sorry, it’s too bad why we’re here but there’s a lot of love around.”
Jude was among a group of people who spent their evening paying their respects to Carlson. Phillips, like Carlson, was of Harlem High’s 2019 graduate class.
“I knew him through high school too. We weren’t as close in high school, kind of split apart and did our thing, but definitely still kept in touch,” says Phillips.
Phillips says one thing he won’t forget about Carlson was his character. “Very giving, selfless I think is the biggest thing, biggest heart definitely,” he describes.
Various local organizations helped put the event together, including Blue 815. It was founded after Andrea Cox’s cousin, Jamie, was killed in the line of duty. Now, the non-profit provides support for law enforcement.
Chair of Blue 815, Andrea Cox, says, “To have someone so young lost in a tragedy like this, I know exactly how horrible this has to be for his family. I think it’s important that we support and that we remember our military who are out there defending our freedoms.”
Cox adds people like Carlson are the backbone of our country and his family deserves all the support they were given.
“These are the images they will keep with them, the support that they saw from their community. All cultures, races, everybody was out here with one purpose today and that I think is a huge message that gets sent across the community,” Cox says.
Carlson’s funeral is Saturday at Harlem High School. It starts at 2:30, followed by a marine flyover.