Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Daniel Scherry laid to rest

West Park wept for Danny Scherry.

Kamm's Corners surely grieved as well.

And when the noon church bells tolled deep and low Saturday and bagpipes moaned "Danny Boy" soon after Scherry's funeral, it was as if every West Side Cleveland neighborhood had paused in mourning.

Twenty-year-old Lance Cpl. Daniel Rocco Scherry, killed in a noncombat incident in Anbar province in western Iraq on April 16, was remembered throughout the West Side streets of Cleveland, Rocky River and Fairview Park.

More than 1,000 people attended his funeral Mass at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church on Rocky River Drive in Cleveland's West Park area, listening as the Rev. John J. Cregan eulogized Scherry as a "young man always coming to the defense of others."

"I know your hearts are breaking, and our hearts are breaking for you," Cregan told the Scherry family.

"I've known him from birth to death in 20 years," said Cregan, who came to the parish in 1986, the year Scherry was born. "He accomplished more and touched more people in 20 years than some people ever do."

Scherry's uncle, John Fox, said the community support has stunned the family.

"It's been a humbling thing," he said. "We're thankful that they want to honor Danny in so many ways."

Hundreds of rain-soaked residents lined the streets to the church from Busch Funeral Home in nearby Fairview Park -- some saluting and others waving flags as the funeral procession crawled toward the church.

"It's just the honorable thing to do for a young man who was doing an honorable thing," Maryann Nofel said as she and her husband, Pete, stood along West Park Avenue near the church.

Pete Nofel's eyes were red-rimmed. "The rest of us are in his debt," he said.

Hundreds more lined the roadways after Mass as the procession traveled to Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River, where a Marine honor guard presented his parents with American flags.

Scherry joined the Marines in early 2006 but had been sent to Iraq just recently, the Pentagon said.

A military incident report provided by Busch Funeral Home said Scherry was electrocuted when he "grasped an electrical wire while the gunner in the turret of a MTVR-7 in the vicinity of combat outpost Timberwolfe."

The 2005 Rocky River High graduate became Ohio's 155th casualty in the Iraq war and one among more than 3,300 American military personnel who have died in the conflict, according to a Washington Post analysis of official records.

Fox said a teenage Danny Scherry came to his mother in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with a promise.

"He told his mother and two sisters, 'I'm not going to let anything like that happen to you,' " Fox said. "He knew the risk and accepted it."

Family members and friends repeatedly said Saturday that Scherry had "always wanted to be a Marine," and family photos on a video show him dressed in military fatigues as a toddler.

The video is online at www.memorycatchersdvd.com/dannyscherry.

Scherry was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Before joining the Marines, Scherry had graduated from the Fire Training Academy at Cuyahoga Community College. Cregan said Scherry planned to eventually become a firefighter.

"I have no doubt that this young man would have come back to serve his community in yet another way," Cregan said.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Related Link:
Daniel Scherry remembered

Related Link:
Daniel R. Scherry dies in 'non-hostile accident'