Highland, Illinois (KSDK) -- Hundreds of volunteers have taken to the streets of Highland, Illinois, to honor fallen Marine Corporal Aaron Ripperda.
The 26-year-old is one of 7 Marines killed when a mortar shell exploded during a training exercise in Nevada.
Ripperda's body will arrive back home on Monday, andthe community is showing its respects by lining the streets with American flags.
The sight is a magnificent one and the task is a hefty one.
"It really shows us how many people out there really care and it's good," says Ripperda's great Aunt Marie Bartony.
For the family of Corporal Ripperda, this is more than they could have asked for. For the organizer Larry the Flagman, it's important to him for the families to see the support. He thinks what better way, than a sea of red white and blue.
"It reminds them that there was that many people out there putting up these flags," says Larry, the Flagman, Eckhardt.
For the past seven years Eckhardt has been traveling across 10 states helping communities show their appreciation.
"I didn't serve but this is kind of my way of saying thanks for everything that I've been able to enjoy throughout my life," he says.
No matter where he goes he says he always gets a great crowd, and those first in line offering their help are usually the veterans.
Like Dave Stout who was in the Air Force for 22 years.
"I think anytime you get support like this from a bunch of strangers, it's probably even better than the support you get internally in the family," says Stout.
Joining the crowd of hundreds are Bartony and other family members.
"We want something to do, it's been almost two weeks and now we can do something and it keeps us busy," says Bartony.
She says yes, this scene is overwhelming, but surprising? No, not at all.
"Every single small town just always, whenever something happens they all pull together and everybody is family," she says.
A family with one mission to line the streets of the hometown of Corporal Aaron Ripperda.
For the next two days Highland, IL will be covered in more than 2,200 flags, standing tall, waving in the wind.
A reminder of love, support and gratitude.
Visitation for Corporal Aaron Ripperda is 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at Meredith Funeral Home in Highland.
The funeral is set for Wednesday morning at St. Paul Catholic Church.