Hundreds of people turned out Monday afternoon to honor the family of Joshua "Chachi" Corral, the 19-year-old Marine from Danville who was killed Friday in Afghanistan.
Lining both sides of the street for about a half mile, friends, neighbors and well wishers talked quietly as they waited for the family's return from Dover, Del., where they claimed Corral's body.
The young Marine's father spoke to some of the crowd from the front deck of the family's home on Bountiful Court.
"Thank you for being here today," said Corral's father, Arnie. "It's a bit overwhelming."
Danville Mayor Karen Stepper said the 2010 San Ramon Valley High School graduate volunteered with a number of friends, calling them Danville's own band of brothers.
Family friend Kelly Miller helped organize the homecoming, spreading the word to parents with children on sports teams. She said everyone in Danville who's been on a team knew Corral or one of his three brothers.
"He volunteered to be a (mine) sweeper. He did it voluntarily -- he wanted to make a difference with his life," Miller said. "He just had a larger than life personality."
Miller, who is also helping to organize a candlelight vigil at Oak Hill Park on Tuesday, said one problem was that no church in Danville is big enough to hold all those who'd want to attend.
Members of both the San Ramon Fire Protection District and the Danville Police Department turned out to pay their respects to the family.
"We're here just trying to show support," said Police Chief Steve Simpkins. "They deserve it."
Also among those waiting were members of the Blue Star Moms and Dads, the name a reference to WWII, when families with a son serving abroad displayed a blue star in a window of their home. Those who had a son that died displayed a gold star.
"We're here to honor the Corral family and their sacrifice," said Blue Star Mom Vicki Carlson. "We want them to know how much we love them and support them."
Many of those lining the street awaiting the family's return carried signs; a group of high school friends stood outside the family home carrying a long banner that read, "Legends never die. We love you Chachi. Once a hero, always a hero."
There will be a candlelight prayer vigil for Corral on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. at Oak Hill Park by the Veteran's Memorial. The public is welcome to attend this event.