Army Specialist Henry Mayfield, Jr. was among three Americans killed last week when Al-Shabab extremists attacked Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya. Two American contractors with the Department of Defense were also killed.
"He was gone 105 days. He walked out the door into a war zone," said Mayfield's grandmother Annette Horton. "We're all hurting and I miss him so much."
Many who tied the ribbons did not know Mayfield, but said they wanted to pay their respects to the young service member who gave his life for his country.
"Growing old is a blessing and this young man didn't get that chance to grow old," said local resident David Ohlendorf. "He gave his life for his country so I can get my butt out of bed on a winter's day and thank him for his service."
"This became more than we thought it would be," said Hazel Crest Village President Vernard Alsberry, "but it really makes you feel good when the whole region gets behind this young man who gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Tuesday's ceremony took place at the New Hazel Crest Village Hall.
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"I'm just thankful that he was a hero," Horton said. "This is beautiful what they did [today]. Thank you Hazel Crest."
Mayfield's body is expected to be flown home Wednesday and escorted back to his hometown from O'Hare International Airport.
A visitation for Mayfield will take place Friday from noon to 8 p.m. at Doty Nash Funeral Home, 8620 South Stony Island Avenue, Chicago.
Another visitation will be held on Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at House of Hope Church located at 752 East 114th Street. That will be followed by the Military Purple Heart Ceremony from 10:30 to 11 a.m. and the Homegoing Service from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A funeral procession will then take place to Lincoln Cemetery, 20953 W Hoff Rd, Elwood, Ill.