Friday, June 1, 2012

Remembering Markus who died June 1, 2004

A tribute to Markus J. Johnson of Springfield, Massachusetts

He was an Army Pfc and on June 1, 2004 he died while serving in the
Al Anbar Province of Iraq when an Avenger rolled over.
He was 20 years old

He was awarded seven medals, including the Bronze Star
and the Purple Heart

Brig. Gen. Bo Temple presents Sandra L. Thomas, the mother of Army Pvt. Markus J. Johnson, a flag and her son's medals during Markus Johnson's funeral at the Massachusetts Veterans Cemetery in Agawam, June 12 2004. Beside Thomas are Markus Johnson's stepfather Lawrence Thomas, Jr., and aunt Katherine Johnson

Siblings Laura Thomas, left, Craig L. Johnson, Nathan L. Johnson
and Dwayne A. Johnson share a laugh as they remember their
brother, Army
Pfc Markus J. Johnson, during his funeral.

Military pallbearers carry the casket of Army Pvt. Markus J. Johnson
from Symphony Hall after the funeral

Tribute to a fallen warrior

Markus' parents and brother Nathan at a memorial event
on the first anniversary of his death.


I would like to introduce you to Markus J. Johnson.

I was living in Massachusetts when I first met Markus. He was a young child and his aunt Kathy was a good friend of mine. She usually had Markus and his brothers with her when we would meet. His mother was in poor health and was confined to a wheelchair so he spent a lot of time with his aunt.

He was full of energy, asked a thousand questions and had a great sense of humor.
When he got older he made the decision to join the Army so that he could help his mother financially and like many of our young citizens Markus dreamed of pursuing a college education when he was discharged from the military.

Markus holds the distinction of being Springfield's first resident to sacrifice his life in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in the country's War on Terrorism. He was assigned to the 3rd Air Defense Artillery, 1st Infantry Division of the Army, based in Kitzingen, Germany and was 20 when he was deployed to Iraq.

Markus’ death was a shock to his family and friends and to the entire community. He was well known at the local Martin Luther King Community Center which he attended during his childhood and teen years. Hundreds attended his funeral.

I wanted to introduce you to Markus because his story is so typical of many of the young men and women who have died in the Iraq War. They wanted to help their families financially, pursue a higher education and to be of service to their country.

Markus’ mother and father have both died since the time of his death. His siblings have undergone the pain of losing their parents and their brother in the past eight years.

I remember Markus with fond affection and we all miss him very much.
We are proud of him and will never forget him.



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