Monday, August 06, 2007

Matt Zindars laid to rest

About 600 servicemen, veterans, family members and area residents paid their final respects Friday to a 21-year-old Watertown Marine who was killed last week during his second tour of duty in Iraq.

Cpl. Matthew Ross Zindars was killed by a roadside bomb July 24 in Ramadi, Iraq, while he was on patrol with his unit. Zindars' unit was responsible for performing security operations and clearing roadways of explosives.

Funeral services for Zindars were held at Luther Preparatory School with the Revs. Anthony Schultz and Mark Gartner of St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church officiating.

Before the funeral services were held, members of the Patriot Guard Riders held American flags as they lined the school's driveway.

As the services got under way, nearly every seat in the Luther Preparatory gymnasium was full. Gov. Jim Doyle, members of the military and the Zindars family sat in the front row during the services.

The funeral got emotional at times, and even a few Marines, who are often known for being stoic, wiped tears from their eyes with their white gloves and tissues as Schultz described the type of person Zindars was.

“By the grace of God our country has had people willing to do what soldiers do, which is to fight for their country wherever and whenever they are called to fight, and Matthew did that,” Schultz said.

“When you fight for your country sometimes it means sweat, sometimes it means blood and sometimes it means parts of a soldier's body - an arm or a leg or an eye or worse,” he added. “Sometimes faithful soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice: They lay down their life for their friends.”

Schultz said that Zindars did not die in vain and that every single person in the country should be proud of the sacrifices he made.

“Matthew was faithful,” Schultz said. “He was faithful to his Savior, faithful to his country, faithful to the corps and he made that ultimate sacrifice. Matthew Zindars did not die in vain. He died faithfully serving his country, protecting little children in a neighborhood near Ramadi that would not have been safe without him.

“We will never forget Matthew,” he added. “We will always be proud of him. We will remember the sacrifice that he made.”

Following the funeral services at Luther Preparatory School, a procession including family, friends and members of the military made its way to Lutheran Cemetery in Watertown, where Zindars was laid to rest.

The interment included a gun salute, the sounding of Taps and a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” As bagpipes played what could be considered the most requested funeral song, two Marines folded the flag that was draped over the casket and another Marine handed it to Zindars' parents, Kenneth and Lynn Zindars.

As the interment came to a close, Kenneth Zindars slowly walked to the coffin, gently placed his hand on the smooth, brown wood and said his final good-byes to his son. After Kenneth Zindars walked away, many friends and family members also paid their respects by touching the casket.

Born on Sept. 12, 1985, Zindars attended Trinity-St. Luke's Lutheran School and graduated from Watertown High School in 2004. Zindars joined the Marines at the age of 18 while he was still in high school.

He was deployed to Iraq in March 2005 and his first tour lasted about seven months. He volunteered to go back for a second tour in March 2007 because he felt his fellow Marines and friends needed him. He was supposed to return to the United States in October of this year.

Zindars was a member of American Legion Post 189 and St. Luke's Lutheran Church. He loved spending time with his family and friends and enjoyed snowboarding, skiing, jet skiing, rock climbing and playing board and video games.

Zindars is survived by his parents, Ken and Lynn Zindars of Watertown; two sisters, Tracy (Richard) Kempf-Reichardt of Waterford and Jennifer (David) Kempf-Wilson of Racine; a brother, Mark Zindars of Milwaukee; nephews, Nathan Reichardt and Caleb Reichardt; nieces, Mikayla Wilson and Mariah Wilson; other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Jason G. Zindars.

From the Watertown Daily Times

Related Link:
Matt Zindars remembered

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Matthew Zindars reported killed in Iraq