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Tonight, we honor 1st Lt. Matthew Vandergrift, who died in Basra, Iraq on April 21st.  

From the Department of Defense:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

1st Lt. Matthew R. Vandergrift, 28 of Littleton, Colo., died April 21 from wounds he suffered while conducting combat operations in Basrah, Iraq.  He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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Matthew Vandergrift lived most of his life in Texas.  His family moved to Littleton, Colorado in 2001.  He grew up in Austin, Texas after graduation he enrolled at Texas A &M.  He graduated with honors in international business from Texas A & M University in 2005.  Vandergrift was a handsome,  young man who died just four days after his 28th birthday.  His family remembers him as a vibrant, friendly, outgoing guy with a sense of humor and strong opinions.

After graduating from Texas A&M, he went to work for Wells Fargo Bank,  but decided for more excitement and enrichment so he  joined the Marine Corps.   He was a true patriot.  His father told how his son was training Iraqi Soldiers, this was a rewarding experience for him, the dad also told the Rocky Mountain News.  There is a bad link, so there will be no html. here.

"Someone has to fight tyranny and evil," said his father. "When they blow up children, who is going to stop that? It's people like Matthew."

Matthew Vandergrift had talked about re-upping in the Marines for two more years before going for his MBA either at Stanford or Yale.

His father also told the paper they are coping with their son's death through their strong faith.  They find comfort in the Bible, Phillipians 4:8.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Sadly, Vandergrift was killed  the day of Aggie Muster.    Aggie Muster takes place each year on April 21, Texas A & M students and former students, honor those fellow Aggies who are no longer with them.  This tradition began in 1883 and continues to this day.  From Wiki:

Aggie Muster is a time-honored tradition at Texas A&M University. Muster officially began on April 21, 1922 as a day for remembrance of fellow Aggies. Muster ceremonies today take place in approximately 320 locations globally including Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.

My deepest condolences to the parents, Mary Jane and John Vandergrift along with his  brother, Barret, who is an Air Force pilot.   My heart also goes out to his fellow Marines and Aggies.  His father, John Vandergrift, was a Marine, too.  
As of today, there have been 4067 confirmed deaths and 6 more pending confirmation in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  There have been 496 killed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  

I Got the News Today is maintained by i dunno with Monkeybiz, moneysmith, silvercedes, noweasels, MsWings, greenies, sistwo, roses, blue jersey mom, Spam Nunn, a Girl in MI, chacounne, joyful, twilight falling, labwitchy and me, Sandy on Signal helping with the series.   I Got the News Today is intended to honor, respect and remind.  Click the IGTNT tags below for previous diaries.

Please bear in mind these diaries are read by the families and loved ones of the fallen.  Please leave respectful and compassionate comments.  Political and war comments should be discussed at other Daily Kos diaries.  

Originally posted to Sandy on Signal on Wed May 07, 2008 at 05:43 PM PDT.

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