Family, friends and fellow Marines went to the Chase Parkway Memorial on Wednesday to pay their respects to Corporal Xhacob LaTorre, a proud Marine dedicated to serving his country who lost his life fighting for it.
On Thursday morning, the Patriot Riders were there, with flags to salute the fallen Marine on a bitterly cold December morning.
"It is a very sad day for us," LaTorre's aunt, Carmen Lasalle, said. "May God help us all overcome such a big loss. We will make sure we all teach little Javy the same values we taught you and from Heaven where you will be resting in peace and looking after your son and wife, I hope to feel your smile."
"It's deeply moving, a debt of honor. We're indebted to him for the service he's provided to our country," said Peter Verseckas
, a former Naval Reserve
man on Wednesday.
LaTorre was in his third tour of duty, stationed in Afghanistan, when he was injured by a terrorist bomb in August. He lost both his legs but never lost his spirit. For four months he fought for his life with his wife, Frances, by his side the whole time.
"I got the call he was going to die at any moment. I went running, and I was there, and as soon as I got there, he died," said Frances LaTorre
Even at the very end, LaTorre was happy. That's how his family always knew him to be. They say he was a fun-loving person who put others before himself.
"He was wonderful, he was always there for everyone. Every person that he touched was special, special to him," said his aunt, Carmen LaSalle
The people most special and closest to his heart were his family members, especially his 18-month-old son Javier. Frances says he's already a spitting image of his father.
"He looks just like him. He does a lot of the same things his father does," she said.
"To me, it's like he never left. Seeing his son, is seeing him grow up all over again," said Xhacob's brother, Danny LaTorre
And while they watch Javier grow, they'll remember the dedicated husband, brother, nephew, father and Marine LaTorre was.
"Everybody makes great sacrifices. He made his. I'll always honor and treasure that," said Danny LaTorre.
A funeral service was held on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Chase Parkway Memorial. Then Corporal LaTorre will be buried with full military honors at the State Veteran's Cemetery in Middletown.