Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Adam Emul laid to rest

Overcast skies provided a fitting backdrop to the solemnity of the the burial of Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Quitugua Emul, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' fourth combat death in Iraq.

Hundreds of family members, relatives and supporters crowded the CNMI Veterans Cemetery in Marpi to pay their last respects.

Emul was killed in action on Jan. 29 in Iraq. He was supposed to celebrate his 21st birthday next month, but he died from wounds he received while conducting combat operations in Iraq's Al-Anbar province, according to the Department of Defense Web site.

Emul was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Ist Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of California.
The memorial service for Adam started at 11:30 a.m. with a Mass at the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Susupe. After the Mass, the funeral cortege, escorted by the Department of Public Safety, reached the CNMI Veterans Cemetery in Marpi.

Several cars followed the hearse to the cemetery as U.S. Marine Corps servicemen from Hawaii presided over a brief ceremony inside the Veterans Cemetery chapel.

Government officials and lawmakers led by Lt. Gov. Timothy Villagomez and his wife Margaret joined Adam's family at the chapel.

The late Marine's mother, Angelica, and father, Wayne Emul, sat silently hugging each other during the ceremony.

Military Veterans Affairs Office Director Ruth Coleman spoke briefly to present the visiting Marines from Hawaii who offered a salute to Adam before carrying the U.S. flag-draped silver casket to the chapel where Adam's family and relatives were waiting. Coleman acknowledged Adam's parents for raising a son who sacrificed and fought for freedom.

Visiting U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Thomas Gagnon presented the flag to Adam's parents and sister, MaryAnn. The lieutenant governor, assisted by Coleman, presented CNMI flags to them afterward.

Adam's mother was stoic throughout much of the ceremonies but she appeared to give way to strong emotions when a member of the U.S. Marine Corps started playing "Taps."

The faint whisper of the wind was the only sound that could be heard during the final ceremony at the Veterans Cemetery. The silence was broken only during the three-gun salute provided by seven of the visiting Marines.

Officers from the Nuestra Senora Dela Paz Memorial Chapel then led Adam's parents to the casket. It was then that Adam's mother and sister burst into tears as they embraced the casket for the last time.

Since the war in Iraq began in 2003, Guam and its Pacific island neighbors have seen hundreds of their sons and daughters deployed to the war on terrorism and the conflict in Iraq.

So far, 16 sons of Micronesia are among the more than 3,100 Americans who have been killed since the war began in 2003.

From the Daily News

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