“Our loss is painful and agonizing, but it will be even worse for the nation if we don’t stand up and take steps to stop the spread of terrorism," Randy and Laura Butler said. "Aaron felt this way and he sealed this belief with his life. We support our son and the cause for which he died."
The remains of a Green Beret killed in Afghanistan last week will return to his southern Utah hometown on what would have been his 28th birthday.
Ahead of the Thursday homecoming, two services were scheduled to honor Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler, who grew up in Monticello. His funeral will be Saturday in the small town, and a vigil is planned for Tuesday night in Cedar Hills, where neighbors say he lived most recently before deployment.
Butler's family members in a Monday statement said they had "heartfelt appreciation for the outpouring of love and support at this difficult time."