Frederick Marine laid to rest at Arlington

  • Marines fire one of three volleys during a service for Marine Sgt. David J. Smith.
Marines fire one of three volleys during a service for Marine… (AP photo )
February 10, 2010|By Kafia A. Hosh | The Washington Post

ARLINGTON, Va. — — Hundreds of people huddled under a gray sky Tuesday to say goodbye to Sgt. David Smith, a 25-year-old Marine from Frederick who died of injuries suffered in an attack by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan last month.

Smith's friends, relatives and fellow Marines attended the service at Arlington National Cemetery. The large crowd stretched down an ice-encrusted sidewalk and wrapped around the cemetery's columbarium complex, where the service was held. Remnants of the weekend blizzard had forced the service beneath the columbarium shelter, which is supported by pillars.

Family members remembered Smith as cheerful and fun-loving, but he also had a serious side, they said. Smith was moved by a deep commitment to serve.

He "loved the Marines," Smith's sister, Kristen Forse, said in an interview a few days after Smith's death Jan. 26. "He wanted to be a lifer. If there's one thing that's getting us through right now, it's that he died doing what he loved."

A member of the Marine Reserve's 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Smith had served a 2006 deployment in Iraq. He volunteered to serve in Afghanistan in October.

Three months into the deployment, a suicide bomber attacked Smith's post in southern Helmand province, where he was part of a group of Marines supporting Afghan police. After he was treated at a military hospital, Smith was flown to Germany, where he died. Two other Marines in Smith's battalion also died in the attack.

Smith graduated from Frederick High School in 2002 before attending Salisbury University. An avid athlete growing up, he played soccer, football and lacrosse in high school.

John Bodnar, Smith's former soccer coach, recalled his positive attitude. "He was very respectful, physically fit, looking for a challenge and a real good leader," Bodnar told The Frederick News-Post.

Smith's family sat on gray folding chairs wrapped in forest-green cloth. The Rev. Lawrence Frazier presided over the service.

Marines conducted the military honors, firing a three-rifle volley salute, followed by a Marine bugler who played taps. Two stone-faced Marines presented a pair of American flags to Smith's parents.

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