A 19-year-old Marine killed in Iraq was remembered for giving his life "for the country he believed in" when family and friends gathered Monday for his funeral.
Lance Cpl. Thomas "T.J." Reilly Jr. of London, Ky., was killed Dec. 21 in Anbar province when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his vehicle, the military said.
"We stand here today brokenhearted, but proud of what T.J. accomplished in his life," said the Rev. Joe Mobley, a former Marine who led the service at the London Funeral Home. "He gave his life for the country he believed in."
Mourners stood when one of Reilly's high school teachers sang the Marines' Hymn, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its Web site.
Reilly, who graduated from South Laurel High School last year, liked sports growing up, including basketball, football and boxing, but he had a flair for cooking and baking. He was interested in a culinary career but joined the U.S. Marine Corps to become a leader, friends said.
Among the mourners was Susan Akins of Whitesburg, Tenn., whose son, Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Williams, served with Reilly in Iraq.
She said her son was in the same convoy but in another vehicle when Reilly died. She said Reilly was extremely popular in the unit, and that his fellow Marines were still devastated at his death.
She said five other Marines in the vehicle with Reilly suffered wounds that apparently were not life-threatening.
Reilly was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Survivors include Reilly's mother, Georgina Bray of London; his
grandfather, George Bray of Chicago; a brother, Kenneth Bray of
Braidwood, Ill.; and a sister, Regina Reilly of Manchester.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)