Becoming a Marine like his uncle and adopted father was something he carried in his heart.
Reynold Armand fulfilled his heart's desire when he entered the Marine Corps right after his 2004 graduation from East Irondequoit's Eastridge High School.
He died a Marine.
Reynold Armand, a corporal with the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, died in Balad, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2007. He was 21.
A standing-room-only crowd filled Nuevo Dia, or New Day, Church, which worships at Wesley Methodist Church, 2009 Dewey Ave., Rochester, for his memorial service Saturday morning, Aug. 18.
"He truly is dancing with the angels now," said the Rev. Natividad de Js. Fermin, pastor of New Day Church, "and the uniform he's wearing now is better than anyone can imagine."
Volunteers with American flags lined the corner on which the church sits as mourners filed into the church.
The hour-and-15-minute service, mostly in Spanish with English translation, was attended by members of Cpl. Armand's immediate and extended family, friends, military representatives and community residents, many of whom carried white carnations or roses or wore white ribbons on their lapels. Irondequoit Supervisor Mary Ellen Heyman and Councilwoman Debbie Evans were among the mourners.
Lt. Col. Joseph Russell of the Marines spoke of Cpl. Armand's dedication, commitment to the Marines, and positive, upbeat attitude.
A brief biography was read by Margarita Rivera and Evelyn Marchany.
They said Cpl. Armand was very proud of his Haitian and Puerto Rican heritage and that, "even though he was shy and calm, he was also sweet and simple."
Besides the Marines, Cpl. Armand loved football, video games, and was a fan of the New York Yankees baseball team.
During his remarks, Fermin spoke at length about the meaning of peace and the importance of keeping it in our hearts. He said that all who knew Cpl. Armand speak of his respectfulness and friendliness.
As the mourners continued on to a graveside service at Rochester's Riverside Cemetery, even more volunteers silently and reverently lined the way with American flags.
Saturday's services were preceded by calling hours last Thursday and Friday at Paul Harris Funeral Home in Irondequoit, which made the arrangements.
Predeceased by his uncle and adoptive father, Victor Velez, Cpl. Armand is survived by his parents, Carl Armand of Rochester and Alma Armand of Irondequoit; aunt and adoptive mother, Miriam Velez of Greece; sisters, Adeline Kiptoo and Ajani Armand, and one niece.
Linda Quinlan can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 350, or at email@example.com.