Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts, 18, of Bear, Del.

LCpl Roberts was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; killed April 6, 2004 by hostile fire in Anbar province, Iraq.

Funeral held for Delaware Marine killed in Iraq
By Randall Chase
Associated Press

NEW CASTLE, Del. — With his T-ball bat and baseball caps just a few paces from his flag-draped coffin, 18-year-old Anthony P. Roberts was memorialized Wednesday as a loving son, brother and friend, and a dedicated Marine who died fighting for his country.

The Delaware teenager was one of several Marines killed in combat in Ramadi, Iraq, on April 6, barely six months after he graduated from boot camp and less than eight weeks after he arrived in Iraq.

About 300 people turned out under rainy skies Wednesday to pay their last respects to “Little Tony,” a lance corporal who graduated from Middletown High School last year.

Mourners who gathered at Victory Christian Fellowship heard condolences from Roberts’ friends and family members, as well as letters from dignitaries. In a letter to Emma Roberts, former President Bill Clinton wrote that the nation owes her son “a profound debt” for his service.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew James praised Roberts for her courage in time of grief and said her son, like every good Marine, put aside any fear or misgivings he might have had and followed orders that sent him into harm’s way.

“Job well done,” James said.

Roberts, a Philadelphia native, attended Deer Park Elementary School in Owings Mills, Md., and Deer Park Middle School in Randallstown, Md., before his family moved to Delaware. As a youngster, he enjoyed sports, music, reading and computer games.

In his eulogy, Senior Pastor Gary Whetstone assured mourners that death was not an end for Roberts, but a doorway to heaven. He also noted the liberty and freedom on which America was founded and for which Roberts died.

“No man and no tyranny on this earth will ever take it from us,” Whetstone said.

After the church service, mourners gathered at the Delaware Veterans Cemetery for a brief indoor service as rain continued to fall.

Roberts sat next to her son’s coffin and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue as tributes and words of encouragement were read. A 21-gun salute from a Marine honor guard outside broke the quiet air, followed by “Taps” from a pair of buglers and “Amazing Grace” from the Delaware State Police bagpipe and drum corps.

At the end of the service, mourners gathered in a circle outside as a lone white dove, signifying “peace, love and remembrance” was released into the air.

The dove flew over the cemetery briefly before disappearing into the gray mist.

Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts was killed in action on 4/6/04.

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