Army Sergeant Joel Perez, from Newark,
was killed in Iraq last Sunday when the helicopter he and 15 other
soldiers were flying in - to come home - was shot down by a surface
to air missile near Fallujah, Iraq and all sixteen were killed.
He leaves behind his wife Milagros and his 15 month old daughter
Newark has sent off her sons to fight and die in every war this
country has ever been engaged in. Sergeant Perez is the most recent
but I'm sure he won't be the last.
He was assigned to the Army's 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery
Regiment based in Fort Sill, Okla.
He has been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously.
He also received the Army Achievement Medal, Army Service Ribbon,
Overseas Service Ribbon, and Basic Marksman Qualification Badge.
The viewing will be tomorrow night - Sunday November 9, 2003-
at the Funerarias Las Americas at 279 Roseville Ave in Newark and
there will be a 10am funeral Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred
Heart here in Newark on Monday.
If anyone is looking to do something special this weekend to honor
our veterans you might want to come to the Mass on Monday and say
some prayers for Sergeant Perez and the other men and women who
put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe here at home.