Friends, family and community members remember 26-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Anthony Denier in his hometown of Mechanicville. YNN's Matt Hunter was outside the VFW post where folks are lining up to pay their respects.
MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. – Ten days after paying the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country in Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Anthony Denier returns to his native Mechanicville.
“We can do nothing but honor him as he comes home and we’re happy to do that any way that we can,” Mechanicville Junior/Senior High School Principal Kevin Kolakowski said.
Roughly an hour after a plane carrying his remains touched down in Albany, a long procession of friends, family and Patriot Guard riders escorted the Marine’s hearse to his hometown, where everyone from veterans to students at his former high school paid tribute.
“Being in the Army, you just have to come out for something like this and pay your respects,” said Army Specialist Justin Higgins, a Mechanicville native and former Marine.
“It’s absolutely vital to make sure our students understand the sacrifice our veterans make in making us a better community and making our nation a stronger place to live,” said Kolakowski, who permitted students to stand outside while Denier’s remains passed by the high school. “For that we want to make sure we thank our veterans, especially those who have died in service.”
Denier enlisted in the Marines just 18 months ago and last visited home in October.
While loved ones say the shy and reserved young man would not have wanted a large tribute made in his honor, a grieving community continues to honor him as a fallen hero.
“It’s too bad, tragedy’s tragedy, no matter what,” said Paul O’Keefe, a Korean War veteran. “He’s getting a very good send-off and I’m proud of everyone who’s taking part.”
“With him being a Marine, you always have that bond, you always have that brotherhood,” Higgins said. “Especially being in the armed forces. Armed forces members will always have a bond with each other.”
Calling hours were held Monday afternoon at the Mechanicville American Legion Post 91. A funeral with full military honors at Saratoga National Cemetery is scheduled for Tuesday.