Saturday, February 24, 2007

James Regan laid to rest

The fiancée of a Long Island soldier killed in Iraq moved a thousand mourners to tears yesterday with her touching tribute at his funeral yesterday.

"Jimmy was a hero to many, but he was always very humble," Mary McHugh said of her beloved, 26-year-old Army Ranger Sgt. James (Jimmy) Regan of Manhasset. "He always sought team success and not personal glory."

Regan was to marry McHugh, a medical student at Emory University, when his Army service ended next February. He had served two tours in Afghanistan and was on his second tour in Iraq when he was killed Feb. 9 by a roadside bomb while on combat patrol in Baqubah.

"Jimmy and I were so excited to stand up in front of God, our family and friends and declare our love for each other," McHugh said at the altar of the Church of St. Mary in Manhasset, which was standing-room only. "Only God knows why we were deprived of that opportunity, but it doesn't change the sentiments I have."

Regan, an All-American lacrosse player and All-State football scholar at Chaminade High School in Mineola, graduated from Duke University five years ago. He was deeply affected by the 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed many lives in Manhasset, and turned down a position at financial services firm UBS and deferred a scholarship to Southern Methodist University Law School to join the Army in 2004. He had earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

After reading a love letter Regan wrote to her, McHugh said in a passionate whisper, "Jimmy, we never got to wake up next to each other every morning. Jimmy, I will wake up every morning and thank God for the opportunity to love and be loved by you."

McHugh remembered Regan as someone who always wore a smile and "simply wanted to be happy and make others around him happy."

Regan's father, also named James, said his son did just that.

"Last week in Iraq the bell tolled for Jimbo and he gave the ultimate sacrifice," the grieving father said. "You have done your duty, son, as you saw it. You are a wonderful son."

From the Daily News

Related Link:
James J. Regan dies of injuries from I.E.D.