Before joining the Marines, Andrew Carpenter went to a local community college and worked at the Columbia YMCA, where he would arrange after-school activities for elementary school children.
"He was a very driven person. When he got a goal set, that was what was going to happen. Whatever means it took, he was going to get the job done. That was a personal trait that he definitely taught me," said Jason Sykes, 26, one of the groomsmen at the couple's wedding who described Andrew as positive and upbeat.
Andrew and Crissie complemented each other, Sykes said. "Andy was happy-go-lucky, and Crissie is too, but she could definitely bring Andy back down to earth sometimes."
They married on New Year's Day last year. "The two of them were so in love," Kutzleb said. "They looked like a wedding cake topper."
On his Facebook page Andrew Carpenter had written a short description of himself that read, in part, "i am married to a wonderful woman and have some of the best friends one could ask for. i believe in god and family over everything else."
An Extra Special Fourth of July
Bone said more local organizations and businesses have joined the Lewisburg parade this year because of Crissie Carpenter.
"We've had a tremendous response," he said. "We're expecting this to be the largest parade we've ever had."
It's a bright note for Lewisburg, a small town near Columbia that's less than an hour from Nashville. Like many towns in America, it's been struggling with high rates of unemployment.
During the procession Carpenter will ride with her son in a horse-drawn wagon followed by another wagon with the parade's honorary grand marshals: the families of three Lewisburg veterans who died in recent years.
Landon, Crissie's son, will be wearing a onesie that says, 'My Daddy Died for Our Freedom' and she, along with her family, will wear T-shirts with Andrew's name on it.
Although Carpenter says she is still angry about what happened to her husband, she wants her son to grow up knowing his dad was a hero. "In the sense that everybody is there for me, it does feel good," she said. "I hope Landon will one day be able to look back at it … to see that everyone came together … I would think he would be very thankful for what they did for me."