Stars and stripes lined the runway at the Shelby Municipal Airport on Monday as a fallen soldier returned home.
When officers lowered the flag-draped coffin from the plane, Randall Justice walked over and gently reached out and touched his son.
“When I touched my son's body, I felt peace in my life,” he said.
James Justice, 21, died during battle one month into his tour in Afghanistan.
His father said he did not want the young soldier to enlist in the Army, but Justice was determined to help others.
"I couldn't hold him back from that," said Randall Justice. "I just had to be there and support him with love."
Randall Justice was thrilled to see how many people came to support his son on Monday. More than 80 volunteer bikers who call themselves the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Justice from the airport to the funeral home.
Ride Captain Keith Arbuckle said, "These individuals have at one point in their lives written a blank check to the United States, including and up to the sacrifice of their life."
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew overhead as the hearse took Justice to his hometown of Cherryville and under a large flag they call the arch of honor.
Jack Whitworth was one of the hundreds of people who lined the streets for the procession.
"We hope their families recognize the fact that we appreciate that young man for what he did," said Whitworth.
Children in Cherryville were allowed to leave school to say thank you to a man who was a stranger until a few days ago.
"I can't thank him enough," onlooker Laura Burnette said.
Over the weekend, Eyewitness News was told, Justice's fellow soldiers gathered in Afghanistan for a memorial to him and other soldiers killed in combat.
They will continue the fight as family members here continues the somber farewell. The visitation for Justice will be at New Beginnings Church of Jesus Christ Tuesday in Kings Mountain.