The remains of two American civilians who died fighting against ISIS in Syria have finally made it home after several grueling weeks of planning and travel.
Levi Shirley, 24 was killed in July while Jordan MacTaggart, 22 died on August 3rd. Both men professed a heartfelt love of the Kurdish people and desperately wanted to contribute to fighting against a ‘monster’ in ISIS, according to the words of Jordan MacTaggert in a Facebook video.
It was an emotional scene as the family members openly grieved when the remains of their loved ones were taken off the train at Union Station.
The remains of a third American civilian, William Savage, arrived in the U.S. and were en route home to North Carolina. Savage was only 27 and also died fighting ISIS along with Kurdish rebels in Syria. His father, Reginald, spoke to VOA about his son’s mission:
“I couldn’t object to his wish to help those people. But I didn’t know he was going to Syria.”
“His dream was to join the U.S. military,” the elder Savage said. “But he was denied admission because [of] a seizure he had when he was five years old.”
The families were joined by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who showed great respect to these fallen young men even though they weren’t official members of the United States Military by a) being there and b) presenting them with folded American flags.
MacTaggart’s personal Facebook page was flooded with support.
The men all shared a great respect for the Kurds and fought alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
MacTaggart expressed his inability to sit by and do nothing while an evil such as ISIS was causing so much destruction in a moving video tribute posted to Facebook after his death.
“I’ve always believed that people should do something with their lives instead of just sitting around going to work and punching in the 9 to 5. If I can help somebody, a people anywhere, I would like to. I think I found it here. And then also of course because of the horror that Daesh is, they threaten the Kurds directly. I get to help and stop a monster. So I’m happy to be here. My time in the mountainst has only strengthened my convictions about the Kurds and the generosity of the people.”
His mother, Melissa MacTaggart, posted a gut wrenching note in the comments section after watching the video.
“If I burst into a million pieces of love I could still not express my gratitude. Thank you ! Thank you all.”
Watch the tribute below: