By Kasey Joyce
St. Louis (KSDK) - Army Specialist Jeffrey White's love for the St. Louis Cardinals was much greater than skin deep.
"He was very passionate about the Cardinals," Jeffrey's father, Jeff White said. "He would have been here today if what happened hadn't happened."
White was supposed to be on leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan Friday. Instead, he was killed last Tuesday by an IED.
"He was over there fighting for our country and it really takes a brave person to do what he did," Jeff said.
The last time white was home was October. It was right before he was deployed. He arrived on the afternoon of Game 7 of the World Series. The second he stepped off the plane, he got his dad and went down to the game.
"It's a memory I'll never forget and I told him that," Jeff said. "As a matter of fact, I've never even been to a playoff game before."
"He got to see it and he said it was the best feeling in his entire life," White's brother, Kyle, said.
So it's only fitting that in tribute to White, the Cardinals chose his family to raise the pennant from the team's 11th World Championship.
"He would be thrilled," Jeff said. "My son, if he's looking down right now, he's very happy."
For the Whites, that pennant is much more than just a flag.
"There's never a time where I'll see a Cardinals logo or watch a game and not think of him," White's mother, Paula, said.
The pennant is a symbol of the son, brother and friend they lost, and will never forget.
"He was my hero," White's brother, Michael, said. "I looked up to him."
"I'm heartbroken but so proud, so proud to be his mom," Paula said.
On Saturday, the Whites will meet Jeffrey's casket at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. His visitation is Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Villa Ridge from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. His funeral is Wednesday at the church at 11 a.m.