Fallen Soldier Returns Home
At least 100 people -- bearing flags and heavy hearts - lined First Street today.
They watched in silence as a hearse carried the body of Captain Aaron Blanchard from the airport to the funeral home.
"He was a remarkable man, and his brother thinks so highly of him," said Delia Senger.
Blanchard, a graduate of Selah High School and Central Washington University, was killed last week when his base was struck by missile fire in Afghanistan -- he leaves behind a wife and two children.
Workers from the Yakima Pepsi factory also gathered today - most are connected to Blanchard through his brother, Karl, who works for the company.
"I was in the Military myself, and I understand," said Mike Sutton, "I don't think any of us would be here without our Military service"
The procession was originally planned to go down 16th Avenue, but the company asked the family to have it go down First Street, where they would honor Blanchard with a display of flags and banners.
"It's important to us, not only because of what aaron did for all of us, but because karl's important to us," said Sutton, "We're all a big family here."
"It felt good, it makes you want to cry," said Senger.
And although the community has lost a son today, most believe being here in this moment will help healing begin..
"It will take so long to get over it, but eventually, you'll come around, you'll have so many memories you'll start laughing and thinking [again]," said Senger.
A funeral for Captain Blanchard is set for 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Stone Church in Yakima.
Governor Jay Inslee is expected to attend.