PFC Meari, 21, was buried with full military honors on Veterans Day. The Plainfield native died saving seven members of his platoon last week.
He and Special Jonathan M. Curtis, 24, of Belmont, Mass., were killed in a November 1 attack when they stopped an insurgent on a motorcycle who was wired with a body bomb. Military officials have not released details about their deaths, but said they were the result of wounds from an IED.
The Patriot Guard led the procession to the funeral at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elmwood. His mother, Denise, was surrounded by family and friends.
" He was a guy that was fun to be around. He loved his country," Mark Grabowski said.
"It is important that we come out for moral support for the family," Jessica Pedersen said.
During the service, Meari's parents were presented medals, including a Purple Heart.
"He served his country with courage. We are proud of him. God bless his soul. God bless America," said Suhail Meari, uncle.
A U.S. Army commander shared statements- often humorous- from Meari's comrades in Afghanistan. Governor Pat Quinn also spoke.
"God did not give him a long chronological life but gave him a life of service and gave his life to save others in Afghanistan. We should never forget how special Andrew is to all of us. He is a genuine American hero," said Gov. Quinn.
Meari's burial was private.