Greenfield family receives body of Garabrant, veterans offer tribute to Marine killed in Afghanistan
The body of the 19-year-old Marine and volunteer firefighter from Greenfield was received by his family in a brief, dignified ceremony at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
About 15 minutes before the white charter plane landed, seven Marines in dress uniforms quietly practiced the formal transfer ceremony in the shadow of the building: the precise steps in unison, the slow salute.
Jim Constantin of Concord said New Hampshire Patriot Guard Riders put out the call for the mission of escorting the young Marine's final trip home. "It's for honor, remembrance and respect," said Constantin, a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Vietnam.
As the 11 a.m. arrival time neared, many of the Patriot Guard Riders and others gathered at the fence around the tarmac.
"Really, just to show my kids the freedom we take so for granted is not free," Cote said. "It comes at a cost, and tragically, this is sometimes the cost."
At 11:12 a.m., the flag-draped casket was removed from the plane. Garabrant's family walked slowly forward, lingering for a few moments as the Marines waited a respectful distance away.
Sgt. Arron Rochette learned about the ceremony just that morning and put out the call for other soldiers to attend. He didn't think twice about being there. "Nobody did," he said.
"You've got to be there for your brothers," he said. "It's really a camaraderie."
The focus now has to be on Brandon Garabrant's loved ones and "what can the state of New Hampshire do for the family," he said.
His funeral service will be held at the school on Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by a military burial ceremony at New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen. His paternal grandfather, Korean War Army veteran Charles Evans Sr., is also buried there.
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