HOPEDALE, Ill -- The small town of Hopedale felt big Friday. It was filled with the love of hundreds for one man.
"This is probably the most generous thing anyone could give us, is just their presence," said his sister Bethany Nannen-Miller.
On Friday, on his way to be laid to rest, Reid Nannen was promoted posthumously to Major.
"I am sure he is honored that he was promoted and that will help his family a little more, so we're all very proud of him," said his sister, Briana Nannen.
But his family says they didn't need another reason to be proud of the husband and father of four. They've always been proud of him.
"He followed his dream. He is one of the only people I know who had the same dream from when he was a little boy and made it happen," said Nannen. "And not only did he follow his dream and make it come true but he was at the top of his field. Not every pilot gets to go to Top Gun and he did and it was his ultimate dream."
It wasn't just family on hand to say goodbye, his fellow veterans, most of whom he never knew, came to say goodbye too.
"I never knew him, but he's a fellow veteran, we are going to pay our respects," said Floyd Henderson, a Vietnam Veteran.
"I remember the Vietnam days, funerals like this, we had only a handful," said Veteran Charles Wilcox. "This country is starting to show it supports and cares for our troops."
Friday was about remembering the man as much as the soldier, Reid Nannen, son of Hopedale, Major in the U.S. Marine Corp, loved by everyone who knew him.
Maj. Reid Nannen's funeral is Saturday at Eastview Christian Church in Normal.
The funeral will begin at 10 a.m.
He will then be taken to Springfield for burial.