Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marine Sgt. Marlon E. Myrie

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Sgt. Marlon E. Myrie, 25, of Oakland Park, Fla.

Sgt Myrie was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 25, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

South Florida Marine Sgt. Marlon Myrie laid to rest. In a now-familiar ritual, a South Florida Marine is laid to rest as his loved ones choke back tears.


It’s hard for a boy who’ll be 4 in a few weeks to sit still for anything, even his father’s funeral.

As his mother, grandmother and dozens of mourners spent their final minutes with Sgt. Marlon Earl Myrie on Friday, his son, Kareem, wriggled and giggled in a funeral-home chapel’s front pew.

Through the soaring solemnity of a recorded Ave Maria, the tear-choked eulogy of his grandma’s foster father, and the congregation’s baleful rendition of It Is Well With My Soul, Kareem held a monopoly on good cheer.

Later, in the thick afternoon heat at a veterans’ cemetery, as his fellow U.S. Marines bid Myrie farewell with a 21-gun salute and the 24 haunting notes of Taps, Kareem grew somber.

His grin faded, erasing his dimples. From his grandmother’s lap, he pointed at the pewter-colored casket, now closed on the six-foot Marine in dress blues and white gloves.

“Why is Daddy in there?’’ Kareem asked no one in particular. And when no one answered, he asked again.

“Why is Daddy in there?’’

Someday, someone will tell him that his father died during a firefight in Afghanistan on June 25, 2011. The Marines won’t say much about the incident, only that it involved a hand grenade, and that Myrie reached a field hospital in Helmand province alive.

Myrie , known as Troy in his sprawling, multiracial family, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on Dec. 17, 1985. Orphaned at 11 then adopted by his mother’s sister, Myrie joined the Marines in 2004 after graduating from Fort Lauderdale’s Northeast High School.

An anti-tank missileman, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force. He was 25, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and had survived two deployments to Iraq.

“Troy loved his job,’’ said his mother, Yvette Myrie of Oakland Park. “He loved to blow things up.’’

He was due home in late August, and planned on separating from the Marine Corps next year.

In addition to mother and son, Myrie leaves a 24-year-old widow, Maria James Myrie, of Jacksonville, N.C., and two sisters in Jamaica.

He was shy, polite and a homebody, Yvette Myrie said. On Sunday evenings, he’d cook Jamaican chicken for her.

And after he married, he stopped hanging out with the guys.

“He felt it would be disrespectful to his wife,’’ Yvette Myrie said.

The 51-year-old federal-government linguist calls Larry and Jill Horist, a white, suburban Chicago couple, “Mom’’ and “Dad,’’ their three kids — Caroline, Bill and Alex— her sister and brothers.

The Horists call her “our daughter,’’ and Marlon “our grandson.’’

“Our family portrait looks like a Benetton ad from the ‘90s,’’ said Bill, 39, a Seattle musician.

Initially the Horists’ babysitter, Yvette Myrie joined the family at 16. She earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Knox College, spent two years in the ’80s teaching fish farming in Zaire with the Peace Corps, then earned a master’s degree from Michigan State.

After her sister died a widow in 1996, Yvette Myrie took five years to slog through the bureaucracy of an international adoption before she could bring Marlon to the United States.

Larry Horist recalled meeting “little Troy’ during his first Christmas in the U.S., when Yvette took him to Chicago.

“We were anticipating ‘little Troy’s’ arrival for years,’’ Horist said. Miming the double-take he did at the time, he said: “I opened the door, and little Troy was already into manhood.’’

The teen couldn’t figure out what was wrong with his skin, Horist said.

There was nothing wrong; Troy had never been cold before.

Fighting his emotions, Horist added: “Family is not about blood. That’s what Troy brought us on Christmas.’’

His remains arrived Wednesday at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport from the Dover, Del., Air Force base.

A motorcycle escort of Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies, members of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club and the Patriot Guard Riders accompanied the flag-draped coffin to Forest Lawn North in Pompano Beach, where friends, relatives and strangers paid their respect on Thursday.

Marine Sgt. Marlon E. Myrie was killed in action on 6/25/11.

1 comment:

juliania waugh said...

sgt myrie is my uncle , he wasnt jus a father , husband and son , he was an amazing brother to his 2 sisters and brother and even better uncle.