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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Lance Corporal Anthony Melia USMC, Requiescat in pace.

Another man better than you and me has died for the freedom of ingrates and sheep.

Westlake Village, CA - Last year, Anthony Melia returned to his alma mater, Thousand Oaks High School, proudly wearing his crisp uniform as a U.S. Marine.

He would soon be sent off to fight for his country in Iraq, and he couldn't have been more enthusiastic.

"He talked of his excitement in serving his country," said Teri Sanders, who has been Melia's English teacher. "He was showing through his courageous actions what love is. He had a contagious smile that would light up a room."

Memories of that smile brought even the toughest of Marines to tears Monday as more than 1,000 people paid tribute to Melia, 20, who was killed Jan. 27 while fighting in Al Anbar province, becoming the first person from Thousand Oaks killed in the Iraq war.

Residents lined the streets as a procession carried Melia's body to Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. There, his family and friends talked of his personal warmth and devotion to his community and his nation.

"He was just an amazing, rare individual who did more in 20 years than many do in (long) lifetimes," said Melia's cousin Frank Melia Jr. "Anthony was a hero and he will never be forgotten. He provided us with an example of how to live. ... He was a fearless warrior."

Anthony Melia's fiancée, Jaime Chunko, said he will be her true love forever.

"I know he is still here with me - my guardian angel," she said.
His family was presented with a Purple Heart during the ceremony.

Relatives said it was typical of Melia even as a small boy to show eagerness to protect his friends and family.

He was still in his early teens on Sept. 11, 2001, when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon convinced him that he wanted to join the U.S. military to help protect his country.

Friends said he was known for speed and strength as a wide receiver and defensive back on the football team at Thousand Oaks High. Graduated in 2005, he joined the Marines at age 18.

A lance corporal in the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, he was sent to Iraq on Sept. 13. He was shot to death in combat 4 1/2 months later. Further details have not been released.

A police escort led Melia's family in the procession through the streets of Thousand Oaks before the funeral Monday.

Along the route, thousands of mourners - many waving flags - emerged from schools, homes, businesses and City Hall in Thousand Oaks.

"They stopped what they were doing and came out to pay their respects for his service and his heroism," Thousand Oaks Mayor Andrew Fox said.

Thousand Oaks police Sgt. Jim Kenney, who helped lead the procession, said it was remarkable to see so many people lining the streets.

"It was an honor for us," he said about being in the funeral procession.

As a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace," Marines carried Melia's casket into the church, where a series of photos showed his progression from athletic boy to heroic Marine.

"I am overwhelmed with this outpouring of compassion," said his grandfather, Charles Melia.

Byron Sells Jr., a 17-year-old Westlake High School student and friend of Melia's, called it a great tribute to his buddy.

"He's a very honored person in this community," Sells said. "He will always be remembered in our hearts."
(Thanks to the LA Daily News for this obituary.)

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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