WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Family and friends are starting to say goodbye to Sgt. T.J. Butler, a local soldier who was killed in action.
Thursday night, a visitation was held at Andrews Mortuary in Wilmington.
Sgt. Butler, 25, grew up in Pender County, was killed last week by a suicide bomber. He was one of three National Guard members killed from North Carolina.
At the visitation, dozens of people stood outside holding American flags.
Cindi Moore brought her daughter, an American flag and two lawn chairs to the service. They sat on the corner of the street.
Moore explained that she wanted to teach her daughter the importance of honoring those who lose their lives serving our country.
"We came out here to support a fallen hero, T.J. Butler, and to let his family know that we love them and we are praying for them and that we respect the sacrifices they are making," she said.
There was no sign Thursday night from a controversial church that announced late last week that they planned to protest at the funeral. WECT.com checked, and the Westboro Baptist Church has not been granted a permit from the police department that would grant them permission to protest.
Butler's funeral is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Wilmington.
Those who want to pay their respects are being asked to line the streets during the funeral procession.
For the funeral, there will be some road closures during the procession.
Market and 16th to Fifth Avenue will close for 30 minute intervals in the morning starting at 8:30 a.m., then at 10:15 a.m. and again at noon.
Butler leaves behind his wife, Holly, and their 6-month-old baby, who was named after him.
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