This is a hard one to write as this isn’t as easy to write about as a beautiful wedding that I’m accustomed to capturing. But it is a job that I took on as seriously as any I’ve taken, and by the end of it, I was quite drained.
A U.S. Marine that had just turned 20 years old mysteriuosly and suddenly died while working at the Pentagon in D.C., and I was asked to cover the 3-day memorial service for the family, starting from where the family would receive the body on the tarmac at SFO. The family wanted his story to be told, and there was news coverage, including a live shot of the motorcade from KTVU News’ helicopter as it proceeded to the family home town of Tracy. There was no shortage of flags and uniformed police and fire fighters at just about every overpass on the 65-mile trek, and the welcome home by the locals in Tracy was nothing less than the heartfelt support that the family needed.
Riding with the Marines and a Navy officer in a chase vehicle in the police-led motorcade was something I won’t ever forget. And the Freedom Riders, a biker club consisting of active-duty and veteran soldiers, came out in bunches to be a part of the procession. Matt, a veteran and one of the leaders, insisted that they wanted to make the “best possible” worst-day ever for the deceased family.
The video below is the Hero Welcome of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Lenin Priego Zurita.
I want to thank Tami Weis who accompanied me as the photographer and who did a tremendous job documenting the memorial service while I did the filming. And thank you to the Pleasanton Police Department who found out I was filming the procession and reached out with photos and videos from an overpass as the procession passed below.