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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Family, friends and fellow Marines were gathered at a local funeral home to celebrate the life of Cpl. Pablo Mayorga, who gave his life serving in Iraq fighting in the Global War on Terrorism. Mayorga's widow, Paola, was given the Purple Heart which was posthumously awarded to Pablo. Photo by Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Photo by Cpl. Athanasios Genos

Marine honored, posthumously awarded Purple Heart

2 May 2006 | Cpl. Athanasios Genos

The family of the fallen Marine, Cpl. Pablo V. Mayorga, of 2nd Tank Battalion, entered the funeral home with tears filling their eyes as they said their final goodbyes to their father, husband, son, brother and friend.

Paola Mayorga, Pablo’s widow, was presented with the Purple Heart for the wounds that took her husband’s life.  The posthumous award along with a memorial honoring the life of Mayorga brought family and friends together to share memories of the past and lay to rest a beloved friend.

“His life was a celebration of unselfishness, courage, commitment and love,” explained Luis Unda, one of Pablo’s best friends.  “His actions will not be forgotten and someday we will all have an opportunity to thank him.”

The family arrived at the funeral home, embracing each other as they came to realize they were going to see Pablo for the last time.  Friends and fellow Marines stood outside the viewing room holding back the tears as they listened to the breaking hearts and echoing sounds of crying coming from inside.

After the viewing, everyone moved to the chapel for the ceremony.  The American and Marine Corps flags were marched in and everyone bowed their heads for the opening prayer.  Lt. Col. Andrew D. Bianca, commanding officer of 2nd Tank Battalion, began the ceremony by presenting Pablo’s Purple Heart to his widow.

Emotions ran high as each memory was talked about by Mayorga’s close friends.  He was a man who gave up many things in life to make his family’s life better.  He was born and raised in Quito, Equador, and moved to the United States in 1991.  He paved the way for his family to move with him later on.  Mayorga was the type of man who always wanted his family as close to him as possible.

“With the unfortunate events that happened on 9/11, Pablo felt an obligation to give back to his country and defend it from future attacks,” said Unda.  “Pablo joined and wanted to be on the front lines defending his nation, a nation that is providing shelter and vast opportunities for his family.”

One of his fellow Marines from the battalion’s scout platoon had a letter he wrote to Pablo that he read to the family and everyone at the ceremony.

“Life was always enjoyable for everyone around you because you lived your life to the fullest everyday,” Sgt. Michael B. Priddy read.  “Whether we were freezing in the field or having a cookout, that ever-present smile of yours was always a comforting site.”

Taps began to play after the speakers were finished, bringing sobbing and tears to many people.  The bugle sent a piercing sound into the small chilled room as the service members stood sturdy at the position of attention.

The flags were marched off and out of the chapel following the playing of Taps.  Once the colors were retired, the family was escorted out of the chapel and the ceremony came to a close. 

The life and memories of Cpl. Pablo Mayorga were honored here as his family and friends paid their last respects to a Marine who proudly served his country for all it had given to him and his family.

Closing the service in prayer, Navy Chaplain Lt. Michael D. Howard said, “He has been an inspiration and example to each and every one of us as we learn to live our lives through his example and may his spirit forever shine upon us as we look forward to that day when we may be reunited.”