Father Daniel Fullerton blesses the casket at services for Roger Gonzales, a Marine who was killed at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when he was just 20 years old in 1950. Gonzales was buried near his mother in Rancho Palos Verdes on Friday, September. 21, 2018. His family had waited 68 years before his remains were positively identified and returned to the family. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Roger Gonzales, a Marine who was just 20 years old when he was killed in action in 1950 at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, was buried near his mother, Anastasia Gonzales, in Rancho Palos Verdes on Friday, September. 21, 2018. His remains recently were positively identified and returned to the family. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
After 68 years, Roger Gonzales is home.
The Marine’s family didn’t give up hope that this day would come, after decades of waiting.
He was just 20 years old when he was killed in action in North Korea on Nov. 28, 1950.
Friday, the San Pedro native was laid to rest – next to his mother’s grave – with full military honors after an emotion-steeped 90-minute service at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.
The outdoor gathering drew an estimated 500 people, including more than 50 active-duty Marines from Gonzales’ own 2nd Battalion,1st Marine Division.
Gonzales’ Marine peers presented the moving final roll call for their fallen brother.
The name of a Marine in attendance was called out first.
“Present!” came the loud response from a Marine seated in the crowd.
Then another name. “Present!”
Then the third name.
“Private Gonzales” was called for response. Silence followed.
Then again: “Private Gonzales.”
“Private First Class Roger Gonzales,” came the last and final call.
And, finally, came a slow salute, acknowledging their fellow Marine’s ultimate sacrifice and permanent absence.
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