Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier was remembered Tuesday as a good son, a good brother and a brave soldier who was protecting his fellow Marines when he was killed by enemy fire Dec. 2 in Afghanistan.
More than 200 attended the Marine’s funeral at American Legion Post 91 on South Main Street.
Denier’s mother, Mary Denier Morgan of Mechanicville, decided not to speak at the funeral, and instead had Tom Salvadore of the DeVito-Salvadore Funeral home in Mechanicville read her comments about her son during the service Tuesday morning.
“He was deserving of respect, friendship and love,” she wrote. “If you were lucky enough to be his friend, he would do anything for you.”
She said her son entered the Marines in early 2011 as a young man “with goals to achieve.”
“I saw the man, the Marine, he grew into,” she added.
Morgan was presented the Purple Heart medal citation given posthumously to her son by Marine officers participating in the service.
Denier was in a rear security position during a combat operation in Helmand Province on the morning of Dec. 2, according to a statement from his company commander, Capt. James Geiger of India Company.
“He was pinned down but refused to give up his position. He was struck with one round that killed him instantly,” Geiger said in the letter read by Marine Lt. Richard Bondi.
“He was the oldest man in his peer group. He was a natural leader,” Geiger wrote. “He will be missed but never forgotten by the men of India Company.”
Denier, who was 26, was a rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. He had been in Afghanistan since late October.
“We are here to honor him for a short life, a life well-lived,” said the Rev. Clyde McCaskill of the Hoosick Valley Community Church.
“He was fulfilling his lifelong dream, enlisting in the Marine Corps,” McCaskill said.
He said Morgan and her family wanted to thank the Marines who have been with her throughout the difficult week, the numerous police agencies and fire departments who escorted her son’s body from Albany International Airport to Mechanicville on Monday, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders, the dozens of motorcycle riders who were also part of the funeral escort.
Denier’s flag-draped casket was carried from the Legion Hall by seven Marines in full dress uniform.
The procession to the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery went north on routes 4 and 32 past Stillwater Central School, where 750 fifth- through 12th-graders were lined up outside to pay their respects to the fallen Marine.
The Patriot Guard Riders along with Mechanicville city officials and local and state police escorted the hearse to the national veterans cemetery in the town of Saratoga.
An estimated 500 people attended the interment ceremony, which featured a three-volley salute fired by seven Marines.
“Anthony laid down his life for our day-to-day freedom. Rest in peace young Marine. Semper Fi,” said McCaskill.
All along Main Street in Mechanicville, from the Legion hall right through downtown, yellow ribbons and small American flags lined the thoroughfare.