Based: Twentynine Palms, Calif.
1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division
Supporting: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Died: March 25, 2003
Foreign Country of Birth: Mexico
Burial: Live Oak Memorial Park, Monrovia
With her son's casket before her and a huge American flag hanging high above the altar, Martha Martinez stood strong Saturday in front of a packed church crowd and told mourners what overwhelmed her heart:Read the entire LA Times article about Marine Private First Class Francisco Abraham Martinez Flores here, find more at Military Times, Fallen Heroes and visit Private Flores' Guest Book.
"I am a mother with a broken heart," she said. "I had so much love for my son and I feel so sad that I have lost him.... But I will always be proud of him."
She said she could not give him a final embrace because she was in Mexico attending her father's funeral the day he left Twentynine Palms.
"He was my firstborn son and the pride of this family," she said as many in the pews began to weep. "I will always remember him as a young man with so much spirit."
Martinez Flores came with his family from the Mexican state of Jalisco at age 3 and was two weeks away from becoming a U.S. citizen when he died, one of thousands of green card soldiers who volunteer for military service. His relatives proudly said Saturday that he had been posthumously awarded citizenship.
You will find the above photograph of Marine Private Flores' family here.