Sunday, August 19, 2007

Reynold Armand laid to rest

Family and friends filled Wesley United Methodist Church on Saturday morning for the funeral of Cpl. Reynold Armand. Outside, more than 100 people gathered to pay respects to a young man many of them had never met.

Mourners described Cpl. Armand as calm and kind. They recalled his love of football and the New York Yankees. Of his family and his country.

Cpl. Armand left to join the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after he graduated from Eastridge High School in 2004. He was sent to Iraq in January and died there on Aug. 7. He was 21 years old.

"He was a good man," said Alejandro Lopez, a friend of Cpl. Armand through New Day Church, which uses the Wesley United Methodist building for its services. "If he didn't know you, he would get to know you. He will be dearly missed."

"He was always funny and always smiling," said Jessica Pratts, another church friend.

New Day Pastor Natividad Fermin called on those gathered to work for peace.

"I can imagine that Reynold now has a new uniform," he said. "He is dancing with the angels in my Father's house."

As Cpl. Armand's family left the church with his coffin, they walked a path lined with at least 50 American flags. Some were held by veterans, others by people who wanted to show Cpl. Armand's family how much they appreciated his sacrifice.

"We're veterans and he's our brother," said Michael Skowronski, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 16. "We're here to show him respect and honor."

James Barlow, an Army veteran, came wearing a hat embroidered with the words "Veterans for Peace."

"Once you are in the military, you feel all in the military are your brothers and sisters," he said.

Cpl. Armand so wanted to join the Marines that he persuaded his aunt and adoptive mother Miriam Velez to sign papers allowing him to enlist before he turned 18. He aimed to follow in the footsteps of the late Victor Velez, Miriam Velez's husband and Cpl. Armand's uncle and adoptive father, who had been a Marine.

Cpl. Armand is survived by his parents, Alma and Carl Armand; sisters Adeline Kiptoo and Ajani Armand; his aunt and adoptive mother, Miriam Velez; and numerous family members.

He had been assigned to the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The government says circumstances of his death are under investigation.

From the Democrat and Chronicle

Related Link:
Reynold Armand reported killed in Iraq