Army Spec. Michael Isaiah Nance's procession from Midway Airport to the Leak & Sons Funeral Homes
The paratrooper grew up on the South Side and went to high school in Chicago's northern suburbs before pursuing Army training. His remains returned to Chicago on Friday and a dignified transfer was held at Midway Airport.
The visitation took place at Leak & Sons Funeral Home at 18400 Pulaski Road in Country Club Hills at 6 p.m. The wake continues Tuesday at 10 a.m. with a funeral service at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St.
Nance's family takes comfort that he's being remembered as a patriot who gave his life for his country, but they are heartbroken over his loss.
"It's been so unpredictable. Just thanking God though for everybody and their prayers," said Kenon Forest, Nance's great uncle.
Forest said Nance's dream was to serve his country. He said Nance begged his mother to let him join the Army.
"She wanted everyone to know he died doing what he enjoyed doing," Forest said.
Nance had only been in Afghanistan for two weeks. Before his deployment, he and his mother went on vacation to London, Paris and Croatia, where the self-described foodie could indulge one of his passions.
Specialist Nance will be buried with full military honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.
RELATED: Chicago-area soldier Michael Isaiah Nance killed in Afghanistan
Forest said its also important it pay tribute to paratrooper Brandon Kreischer, 20, of Ohio, who was also killed in Afghanistan.
Government officials said the combat-related incident is under investigation. An Afghan security source told ABC News that an Afghan army soldier opened fire inside a local military camp in the Kandahar province.