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Thousands line highways to salute fallen pilot
Capt. Matthew Freeman arrives home
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A man holds up a flag as the hears pulls into the driveway of the Richmond Hill Funeral Home. - photo by Photo by Ross Blair
RICHMOND HILL — Thousands of people lined Highways 17 and 144 Wednesday as a procession carrying fallen Marine Capt. Matthew Freeman drove from the National Guard airport in Savannah to the Richmond Hill Funeral Home.
Earlier that day, Richmond Hill city workers lined city streets with American flags. Dozens of marquees, which usually advertise products and services, carried messages of gratitude to the captain for his service to his country.
“I was very proud of Richmond Hill today,” Mayor Richard Davis said. “I saw people lining the streets today that I haven’t seen in a long time. It was a hot day, but that didn’t seem to faze anyone. This was a day to show our respect for Matt and it showed how revered he is in this town.”
A police escort and motorcade led the hearse carrying Freeman’s casket, followed by the family in a limousine. The crowd waved flags, saluted and held signs in support of Freeman and his family as they passed.
The captain was killed in Afghanistan last Friday. He was assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 36 in Okinawa, Japan, but had volunteered to train the Afghan military while supporting combat operations in the Kapisa Province. Freeman was on a roof directing close air support when he was hit by machine gun fire.
Freeman grew up in Richmond Hill, where he was a star on the tennis team. He was a third generation military officer.
In addition to his parents and siblings, Freeman leaves behind wife Theresa, whom he wed three weeks ago.
Visitation is today at the Richmond Hill United Methodist Church from 5-8 p.m., and the service will take place at the church Saturday at 11 a.m.
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