Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Terry Allen laid to rest

Terrence Allen was a hard- working student, a passionate football player and a young man with a keen sense of humor and an infec tious laugh.

But above all, Allen was remembered yesterday for his loyalty to the people he loved, to the Catholic faith to which he had recently re connected, and to the military lifestyle he had chosen.

Allen, 21, a Marine corporal who was supposed to have returned home to Pennsauken this week after his second tour of duty in Iraq, was instead mourned by hundreds in a church just paces away from where he attended grade school.

The Rev. Anthony Manuppella, pastor at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church, said Allen's teachers had all loved him, and that he had set a good example to everyone around him.

"The bitterness and sadness of death stings us," Manuppella said yesterday, as many people in the church wept.

As his parents, John and Connie Allen, embraced well-wishers, Al len's wife, Katie, stood by their side, wearing the dog tags that be longed to her husband of less than a year. His younger sister, Shannon Allen, returned home from college to attend the funeral.

Allen, who died in Iraq a week ago under what military officials described as "nonhostile" circumstances, lay at the head of the church, dressed in a full uniform, his white-gloved hands crossed atop his body and his high school football jersey tucked around him.

Military officials have not yet completed their inquest into Al len's death. The military classification of "nonhostile" death covers a variety of situations including illness, suicide, vehicle crashes and accidental weapons discharges.

Allen's parents have said they were told their son died from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, and that the death was not combat-related. Allen died at Al Asad Air Base in Anbar Province Sept. 15.

He joined the Marines after graduating from Bishop Eustace Preparatory High School, where he was an honor student. He became an anti-tank missile specialist with the 2nd Marine Division, which is based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

He and his wife were married in February, before he left for what was his second tour of duty in Iraq. They met as pen pals during Al len's first tour of duty.

Manuppella indicated yesterday that Allen had in recent years become more involved with his Catholic roots.

"His faith, I'm sure, was a great consolation to him in all the struggles of his life and all the struggles of war," Manuppella said.

Allen's chiseled, angular face smiled out from of dozens of photographs yesterday that displayed him posing with friends, perched on Santa's lap as a child, or showing off his biceps.

The church was packed with his friends, including six former football teammates who wore their blue and white jerseys and sat si lently in one of the front pews, tears in their eyes.

Military officers draped Allen's casket with an American flag be fore bringing it to Lakeview Memorial Park, where he was laid to rest.

Connie Allen said earlier last week that she had kissed Allen's head when his body was finally re turned to her on the day before the service.

"This is a big loss for my family," she said, her voice breaking. "I have to let go of my son."

From the News Ledger

Related Link:
Terry Allen remembered

Related Link:
Terry (Terrence P.) Allen dies 'from a non-hostile incident'