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Memorial Service Held for Marine Killed in Iraqi War

Marine Private First Class Tamario Burkett
Marine Private First Class Tamario Burkett

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A Buffalo Marine was remembered as a "super hero" during a memorial service Wednesday morning. Marine Private First Class Tamario Burkett was killed in the war against Iraq.

The family of Tamario Burkett, 21, was escorted into the True Bethel Baptist Church on East Ferry by a group of Marines. One Marine carried a folded flag that was later given to the family in honor on their loved one.

The Rev. John McClain lead a prayer saying today is a day to remember a solider -- a solider who lost his life in battle.

State Senator Byron Brown also spoke saying Tamario paid the ultimate sacrifice and is a hero.

One of the most uplifting and emotional moments of the memorial came when the Rev. Darius Pridgen eulogized Tamario. He told family and friends that when Tamario was a young boy, he wanted to be a "super hero." But Rev. Pridgen said a "super hero" never die.

"Fly Tamario! Fly Tamario!" Pridgen proclaimed. "You have completed your mission. Rest! Your work on Earth is done." The service included ROTC members from McKinley High School where Tamario graduated. Crystal Barton, principal of McKinley High School, called Tamario a "hero," as she remembered the first time she saw him uniform.

"After graduation, he returned to McKinley High School in his full uniform as a Marine. I saw him, in an area near the cafeteria where students gather, and I said 'Oh, my God, look at you, look at you!'" Barton said. "And he broke out in the biggest smile ever."

Tamario Burkett was first reported as missing in action March 23rd. But the family learned of his death last week.

Burkett is survived by his parents, Brenda and Raymond Wilson. He was the oldest of seven children.