Tucson Marine laid to rest
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    Tucson Marine laid to rest

    Tucson Marine laid to rest

    Killed in Iraq, Cpl. Lawrence leaves wife, infant
    By Becky Pallack

    Daniel Lawrence's thumb smoothed over one edge of the folded American flag he cradled on his chest during his son's funeral.

    His son, Cpl. Jeff Lawrence, the 22-year-old Marine who was killed in action in Iraq July 6 by a homemade bomb, was laid to rest in Tucson Saturday at Holy Hope Cemetery, 3555 N. Oracle Road.

    At the military burial, Marines presented flags to Lawrence's father and his widow, Celeste.

    Two-week-old Cadence Freedom Lawrence - born four days after Lawrence died - rested in a carrier behind her grandfather's seat until it was time to say goodbye to her father. Celeste picked up the infant for a last look at the coffin, then dropped into the grave the delicate headband the baby wore.

    Earlier during the funeral Mass at Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, baby Cadence rested her head near the service ribbons on the breast pocket of her uncle's military uniform. Daniel Law-rence delivered a tribute to his son.

    "Jeff took to life with all the gusto and excitement that would make anyone proud," he said.

    Marines sat together in groups of four and five at the Mass, the red piping across the backs of their black jackets connecting them shoulder to shoulder.

    The congregation thanked God that Lawrence willingly laid down his life that Americans may enjoy freedom. The pastor said Lawrence's love of God put him in the position to challenge terrorists' "hateful fanaticism" in the war.

    Family and friends remembered Lawrence as a man of great character and kindness, full of love, and proud to do his part in the military while knowing the risks.

    "He really was one of us guys who were looked up to and respected," a high school friend said when the congregation was asked to share memories.

    The family decided last week to open the entire service - Mass and burial - to the community. Some who attended the services spoke proudly of the young Marine, although they had never met him.

    "I'm a stranger to Jeff, but he's a hero to me and everyone else," one man said.

    Marines saluted as the congregation began to sing "God Bless America," and Celeste covered her face as she followed the casket out of the church.

    Later at the burial, she sobbed as white doves were released and the casket was lowered.

    Family members dropped red and white roses onto the coffin. Casings clattered down on grave stones during the 21-gun salute.

    Daniel Lawrence was somber. He'd told those in the church about his son's accomplishments, from learning to shoot a rifle to getting his first job at a local swap meet to joining the Marines.

    "I've always been proud of you," Daniel Lawrence told his son.

    "The American people are proud of you and all that you have done."

    Many Tucsonans are proud, too. About 200 people attended the both the church service and the burial. At the church they received photos of Jeff in front of a Marine flag. Poems on the back read "Marines never die, they just fade away and go up to guard heaven's streets."

    "Peace be with you, son," Daniel Lawrence said. "Semper Fi."

    Contact reporter Becky Pallack at 573-4237 or bpallack@azstarnet.com.



    Rest In Peace

  2. #2
    Rest In Peace Marine.....

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