Monday, July 30, 2007

Chris Scherer laid to rest

In the days before Marine Cpl. Christopher Scherer was deployed to Iraq, he handed his mother a poem he found on the Internet.

"If ever I go to war, my friends, we'll never be apart," one stanza says. "Though we may not meet again, I'll hold you in my heart. Remember all the times we had, don't let your memories cease. Your friend's a Marine now, friend, and I'll die to bring you peace."

Yesterday, his parents, Janet and Tim Scherer, of East Northport, read those lines at a funeral service filled past capacity for their 21-year-old son, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq on July 21.

While her son understood the risks of war, Janet Scherer recalled yesterday, "It was always very simple for him: It was his job and he loved it."

More than 20 people spoke at the funeral at the Centerport United Methodist Church, where several hundred attended, some in different rooms watching the service by video.

The hearse was greeted by dozens of service members, police officers, firefighters and residents lining Little Neck Road.

Some held long poles with large American flags. Men took off their hats. One man placed his hand over his heart.

At the funeral, Christopher Scherer was recalled as a fun-loving son and brother by his family; a young man with an overwhelming sense of duty. He decided to join the Marines at age 15 and, with his parents' permission, enlisted a year early when he turned 17.

"Chris was a Marine long before he enlisted," said the Rev. Chuck Van Houten. "This was his goal in life - to serve."

Scherer's younger twin sisters, Meghan and Katie, both 18, said they looked up to him as a hero before he became a Marine, when he protected them in school.

Most of all, his family remembered his sense of humor. Even on this saddest of days, his parents, big brother, Timothy Jr., 22, and sisters smiled in the pews as one speaker after another recalled Scherer's hijinks, especially his impressions of actors.

"When I think about Chris, I can't help but smile," said Meghan Scherer. "He always had us laughing."

It was a trait that extended to the barracks. Lt. Col. Wayne Sinclair, Scherer's battalion commander, said many Marines recalled Scherer's bushy mustache in Iraq and how he reacted when a commander ordered all Marines to shave.

"Sir, I can't shave it off," Scherer told his platoon commander, Lt. Doug Orr. "I ain't got nothing else."

"What do you mean?" Orr said jokingly, according to Sinclair. "We got each other right?"

Then Scherer started singing Bon Jovi's hit, "Without Love," at the top of his lungs.

"He had the platoon in stitches," Sinclair said.

Scherer's favorite drink was Guinness, and the family buried him with one bottle in the coffin. Last night, Scherer's father said, they had plans to drink a 12-pack with Scherer's friends, with one rule: You must tell a story about Scherer with every swig.

From Newsday

Related Link:
Christopher G. Scherer dies of 'wounds suffered while conducting combat operations'