MONROE -- Hundreds of people stood side-by-side, lining Kansas Lane near the Monroe Regional Airport to welcome Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Henderson back home.
The Franklin Parish native died last week along with four other soldiers in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The community awaited his return and, despite Thursday's cooler weather, shared warm feelings.
"We really care and support him and all the military people," said Russell Shannon, a member of the community who showed up to pay respect. "We feel for his family."
Henderson's body was flown in from Delaware on Thursday morning.
Each American flag present, even those flown at half-staff, waved proudly in the breeze, a symbol of patriotic spirit... something that Post Commander George Anzelmo knows very much about.
"The turnout today was fantastic," said Anzelmo. "I am really proud of the people of Monroe, West Monroe, and Ouachita Parish, for what they did today to honor this man. He needs it. And all our veterans need it."
Having served for years, Anzelmo says Henderson, like all veterans, really means a lot to him.
"They're dear to me," said Anzelmo. "You know? They're brothers, really, brothers."
The pain of loss continues to sting the soldier's family. Michael Wallace, Henderson's cousin, said the unanswered questions burn.
"The wondering of what went on, not knowing if it was real bad weather or what exactly took place, the not knowing has been kind of a hard thing to take," said Wallace.
But, today was better, believes Wallace.
"You have good days and you have bad days. And definitely, it's been a good day with all the support from everybody in the community."
A funeral service will be held for Henderson on Friday at 2pm at Temple Baptist Church in Winnsboro, LA.