Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mark Kidd laid to rest

In the words of his pastor, Mark Kidd just wanted to get on with his life -- "finish school, buy a couple of Brooks Brothers suits, marry a babe and serve God."

But a sniper's bullet cut short those dreams for the 26-year-old Milford resident, a corporal in the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, a Selfridge-based reserve unit nicknamed Michigan's Band of Brothers. Kidd was shot in the neck and killed Jan. 25 during his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. Before shipping out last year, he was a semester shy of graduating with a pre-law degree from Eastern Michigan University.

The significance of his death was the focus of his funeral Saturday in Brighton, where grief and memory mixed with eulogies that quickly turned political.

"I'm angry about something," said the Rev. Richard Alberta, who officiated the services at Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church in front of nearly 1,000 people. "I am ashamed, personally, of leaders that try and tell these guys they support the troops and not the commander in chief. Do they not see the effect of that is to discourage the warriors and encourage the terrorists?"

Many in attendance responded to the preacher with a chorus of amens, with a few giving him a standing ovation.

Alberta added that Kidd himself had expressed disappointment at the turning political tide in a thank-you note to his church for a care package sent during the holidays.

"We as troops sometimes can become jaded and forget the human aspect of what we are fighting for out here, but your support gives us the reminders we sometimes need," he wrote in a letter dated Dec. 9, 2006. "...Our nation will prevail."

Echoes of the ongoing debate over the war that claimed Kidd's life could also be heard in eulogies delivered by friends and political figures, including Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Reps. Thaddeus McCotter, a Livonia Republican, and Mike Rogers, a Brighton Republican, who emphasized similar themes of God and country.

"How do you make sense of a good honorable man killed in a far-off land?" asked Cox, a former Marine whose daughter met Kidd while she was on tour in Fallujah two years ago. "America is involved now in another world war."

But not everyone who attended the funeral focused on politics. Many turned out to remember the man who loved watching the Food Network, making people laugh and spending time with family, including parents Frank and Janet Kidd.

Milford resident Rosemarie Whitten said she brought her family to the services after hearing about Kidd's death in the media.

"I had only met him one time at a memorial parade in Milford," said Whitten, 54. "He said to me, 'I'm very dedicated, and I won't quit.' And he didn't."

From the Free Press

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Mark Kidd remembered

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Mark D. Kidd slain by sniper