Crowds Welcome Slain Wyoming Marine’s Family Back to Jackson

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Video: Courtesy The Wort Hotel

By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Hundreds of people lined Broadway Avenue in Jackson on Monday afternoon to welcome the family of a Wyoming Marine who died in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Thursday.

Members of the Jackson Police Department, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marine Corps escorted the father of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, Jim, and Rylee’s two sisters, Cheyenne and Roice, through the community at 3:40 p.m. after their trip to Washington, DC over the weekend.

The family was attending a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where the bodies of the 13 servicemen killed in the attacks were returned to the U.S. in a military service called a “dignified transfer.”

Onlookers waved flags and applauded in an effort to show support for the family.

Earlier in the day, Jim McCollum told a Facebook friend that his son would be returned to the Jackson area “for his last trip home” sometime in the immediate future.

“The process has started but no definitive time-line yet,” Mr. McCollum said.

The elder McCollum also posted a tribute video made for his son by a friend on his Facebook page. The video showed many pictures of Rylee and his sisters growing up in the Jackson area.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso told FOX News on Monday evening that he spoke with Jim McCollum earlier in the day and was told Rylee was “red, white, and blue from the beginning.”

“He joined the Marines on his 18th birthday,” Barrasso said.  “He leaves behind a wife who is pregnant with their first child next month.”

“His Dad ended our conversation by saying, ‘Tonight, Rylee is guarding the gates of Heaven,'” he added.

Jim McCollum, however, did not speak with President Joe Biden, who attended the transfer ceremony in Dover, Massachusetts. McCollum and his family walked out when Biden entered the room.

McCollum’s daughter, Roice, told the Washington Post that this was because they blamed the president for her brother’s death.

“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice McCollum said. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands.”

Jiennah McCollum, the wife of the late Marine, did meet with Biden briefly but reportedly left disappointed because she felt he was following a script.

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