MONTICELLO — Emotional moments Thursday as a Utah hero returned home.
The body of Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler, 27, arrived at the Monticello Airport about noon, where family and friends were waiting to welcome him home.
“He’s coming home, on his birthday, and I cannot think of a more fitting thing to happen for Aaron at this time,” said his mother, Laura Butler. Her son would have turned 28 Thursday.
Butler died in combat Aug. 16 in eastern Afghanistan, authorities said, when he was clearing a booby-trapped building. He was in the Utah National Guard 19th Special Forces and was part of a mission against the Islamic State in Nangarhar Province.
The main highway through Monticello and Blanding was lined with yellow ribbons and American flags. Students, residents, friends and many others were there to welcome him home.
A motorcade and procession took Butler's body from the airport through Monticello and to the San Juan Mortuary in Blanding.
Butler’s funeral will be on Saturday at noon at the Monticello LDS Stake Center in Monticello. Prior to the service, a viewing is scheduled from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Burial will follow at the Monticello City Cemetery.