Natalie Henry-Howell, mother of Riley Howell, receives his flag from a military honor guard during a memorial service for Riley Howell in Lake Junaluska, N.C., Sunday, May 5, 2019 (Associated Press/Kathy Kmonicek)

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. -- Brilliant sunshine, a gentle breeze, boisterous songbirds, a cavernous and rustic chapel on the edge of an idyllic lake — it was, nearly everyone would have to agree, the perfect setting from which to say goodbye to a young man who will forever be known as a hero.

As more than 1,000 people filed reverentially into Stuart Auditorium on Sunday afternoon, they were greeted by the face of that hero: Riley Howell, who died in the UNC Charlotte shooting just five days earlier after pinning the gunman down and thwarting attempts to kill more of his classmates. (One other student was killed and four more were injured, but police have repeatedly asserted that Howell ensured there wasn't further violence.)

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