Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Rodgers

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Rodgers, 20, of Griffin, Ga.

LCpl. Rodgers was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Sept. 1, 2010 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Tears and laughter were shared Friday night as friends of Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Blake Rodgers gathered to remember the young man killed in action Wednesday in Afghanistan. Beverly Maddox described her family’s relationship with the Rodgers by saying, “Our children feel like brothers and sisters. We’re family by heart.”

That sentiment is shared by the Moore family — Jeff and Alison, and their children, Kenan, Austen and Grant.

“He was good as gold. He was a good kid,” Jeff Moore said.

“Blake was the one who always took up for everyone, no matter who it was,” Alison Moore added.

Kenan Moore grew up with Rodgers and said he was “always the responsible one,” but then added with a smile, “But he was a nut.”

Everyone present at the Rodgers’ family home agreed, saying the young man’s formal Marine photo, while depicting the achievement of his lifelong dream of service to the country he dearly loved, differs greatly from collected personal photos.

“It’s almost impossible to find a picture of Blake where he wasn’t joking around, making a goofy face,” Jeff Moore said.

Stephen Merrit, who credits Rodgers with sparking his own interest in JROTC, recalls the young Marine hiding in the bushes as he waited for him to arrive home from school, as well as time spent hunting, camping and playing video games.

“He was always a good friend to me,” he said.

When asked to describe Rodgers in only a few words, responses ran the gamut from honorable, heroic, and motivated to mischievous, a cut-up and crazy in a good way.

“To me, he was a good man in every definition of the term,” Jeff Moore said.

Perhaps most poignant, though, were the reflections of 12-year-old Grant Moore, who has for years worn a Marine dog tag in honor the young man he so admired.

“He was selfless because he never paid attention to himself. He always took care of everyone else. He just adopted me like his little brother I followed him around every time I was near him,” he said. “He was my perfect role model.”

A family friend, Allison Moore, told the Griffin Daily News that while watching the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on television, Rodgers, then 11 years old, told his family he wanted to join the Marine Corps and be on the front lines.

"That was his lifelong dream," Moore told the newspaper. "He died doing what he loved."

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Rodgers was killed in action on 9/1/10.

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