Hundreds gather for vigil to honor fallen Marine

Hundreds gather for vigil to honor fallen Marine
November 23, 2011 12:41:49 AM PST
There was a huge turnout in Danville to remember the service and sacrifice of a young Marine -- Lance Cpl. Joshua Corral. He was 19 years old when he was killed in combat last Friday in Afghanistan. This is the second night in a row that hundreds gathered to pay their respects.

There was a huge turnout in Danville to remember the service and sacrifice of a young Marine -- Lance Cpl. Joshua Corral. He was 19 years old when he was killed in combat last Friday in Afghanistan. This is the second night in a row that hundreds gathered to pay their respects.

Corral's death has deeply touched the East Bay town where he grew up. About 500 people streamed into the park near Danville's All Veterans Memorial. There were family members, adults, children, Marines... all of them in pain over the death of a Marine who was barely out of high school.

The vigil was simple, yet powerful. Hundreds of people touched by the death of a Danville Marine who was only 19-years-old. Mourners turned to one another, lighting each other's candles.

Corral was killed last week in Southern Afghanistan. His job was to sweep for roadside bombs. A friend says the family believes that's what he was doing when he was killed.

Among the nearly 500 mourners who filled the All Wars Memorial in Danville's Oak Hill Park was Corral's former baseball coach at San Ramon Valley High, Dan Kelly. Everyone knew Corral as "Chachi."

"It's just an amazing thing. Chachi knew everyone in this entire town. It's a very small knit community here in Danville, we're all proud of our kids and it's just tough when we lose one of our great Americans here," said Kelly.

One of Corral's brothers tried to speak to the crowd, but was overcome with emotion. When the event ended many in the crowd stayed for a while and stood silently.

"Young men and women are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom and our country and it speaks a lot and the fact that the community is willing to come together just adds to that statement," said Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

The vigil brought out active and retired Marines including Joe Zeiph who grew up with Corral's father.

"We're here for the Marines who come home. Some don't come home and we're here and we're here for the family and the friends," said Zeiph.

People in Danville and the East Bay will have to lean on each other again. A public memorial and a funeral are being planned in the next week or so.


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