Hundreds gather to pay respects as Utah Guardsman laid to rest in Monticello

Posted at 9:22 PM, Aug 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-26 23:29:00-04

MONTICELLO, Utah -- Hundreds gathered in the Monticello City Cemetery Saturday afternoon to pay respects to a Utah National Guardsman who died serving the country.

Staff Sergeant Aaron Butler was laid to rest in his hometown after he was killed in an attack in Afghanistan on August 16.

Saturday morning, a procession brought Butler's remains to the Monticello LDS Stake Center for a viewing and funeral.

Bill Boyle, a Butler family friend, said that the family eloquently expressed their love for Butler at the service, and perfectly captured his life.

Afterward, another procession traveled down Main Street and to the Monticello City Cemetery.

Pallbearers carried Sgt. Butler's casket to his gravesite, as Butler's fellow Green Beret members stood in salute.

"We pray that this will be a place of deep respect, for the life that was given in the fight for freedom," said Butler's brother, Nathan Butler, as he gave the prayer and grave site dedication.

Family and friends exchanged hugs and tears.

Members of each of the eight units of the 19th Special Forces Group, in which Butler served, attended the ceremony, said John Wester, Command Warrant Officer 5 (Ret).

"Once you wear that uniform, we're all brothers and sisters," he said.

Wester said he used to command the 19th Special Forces Group.

He said they're the tightest-knit family in the Army, and the loss of Butler will be felt for years.

For the town of Monticello, a small community that watched Butler grow and achieve his dreams, the loss brought everyone together.

"He just made this town proud, everything he did throughout his life," Wester said.

He said words can't express how it felt to watch the community give back and pay their respects.

"All the flags that were out there, lining both sides of the street, seeing the Patriot Guard out there in force, just the total support from the community was just... it brought me to tears," he said.

"It has been remarkable," Boyle said, of the town's support. "It's really a testament to Aaron and his life and his sacrifice."