"Only 15 people in our class. We were like family all of us were together, for three years at least. Adam was part of my family."
Those were the words many who knew Adam McSween growing up in Valdosta used to describe their relationship with him.
Laurie Walker traveled from Montgomery, Alabama to remember him. Friends were not surprised to see so many people travel across the country to honor Adam.
"He loved everybody and everybody loved him. For people to come back and gather together I think it would have made him happy, and we would be here to honor him because he definitely deserved it," said McSween's childhood friend, Matt Malone.
And at just 26, no one said he was taken too early. They say this was the way he would have wanted to end his life, dying for his country was the ultimate sacrifice in Adam's eyes.
"When you give your life for someone else there is no greater gift that can be given," said David L. Nelson, McSween's former teacher.
"Just tell him how much I appreciate what he did. He's sacrificed a lot. His wife and children are beautiful. He's sacrificed a lot for us. I would tell him thank you," said Laurie Walker, McSween's classmate.
"I'm proud of him and proud of being his friend, and I look forward to seeing him again soon," said Malone.