Fallen Milwaukee Marine returns home

CREATED Oct 16, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct 16, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - The fallen Milwaukee Marine, whose death benefits were originally denied because of the shutdown, finally returned home Wednesday.

Jeremiah Collins -- war hero -- is now home. The 19-year-old Marine Lance Corporal was killed in Afghanistan a week and a half ago. His family and friends, overcome with emotion, stood close by as his body was brought off the plane.

"When these kids are out there defending us, to live the lives that we live, we owe them everything," says Jim Unruh.

Unruh is one of the Patriot Guard Riders who helped escort Collins' body through the city to a Milwaukee funeral home. Collins was a stranger to him until now. They were separated by a generation, but bonded in battle.

"There was no support in Vietnam," Unruh remembers.

And that's why so many of these men and women showed up to honor Collins.

"I had a son that served in Afghanistan and it's just a moving experience," explains Pat Cain, another Patriot Guard Rider.

Jeremiah Collins -- a young man who made it his mission to serve and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

"They say when a Marine falls, he's going to guard the gates of heaven," says Cain. "And he'll be up there guarding the gates of heaven."

Collins graduated from Hamilton High School in Milwaukee just last year. They had a memorial service for him just a few days ago. His funeral will be held Saturday.