Lance Corporal Zachary Smith

I've been selfish. I ragged on the People magazine for not talking about our fallen guys, yet all I do in my blog here is talk about my fallen guy and myself. Ok, ok, I know it is my space for that, but I have decided it's about time I let you all know a little bit about the other guys 1st Battalion 6th Marines lost on this deployment, if People won't I will! So, for you blog friends I will now be showcasing each of our fallen Marines, with the permission of the families of course.

I am going to start with the first Marine we lost, LCpl Zachary Smith. I've had the pleasure to get to know Zach's widow, Anne, and I feel we have grown very close since she came and visited with me before the 1/6 memorial.
Zach was the first loss, the first Fallen Angel 1/6 faced in this deployment, he was killed by an IED during a foot patrol. But during this post, I am not going to focus on his death, I'm going to focus on his life and his love. So now good friends and loyal readers, I present to you...

LCpl Zachary D. Smith
04.02.1990 - 01.24.2010



Zach is from Hornell, NY, which no, it is not in the city. If you ask his wife, Anne, where she's from she'll tell you "Farmtown, like the game on Facebook." I have gotten the pleasure of getting to know his lovely family the last few months and they are all amazing people. His dad, Chris, is a New York State Trooper. After 9/11, Chris spent a good amount of time in NYC helping the people there, Zach was in 6th grade. His mom, Kim, remembers that Zach didn't want his dad to go, but believes it may have been one of the factors that helped him start leaning toward a military career. He decided he wanted to be a Marine in the 8th grade and joined the delayed entry program as a senior in high school. He could not join right away because he was 17 and thus had time to think on his decision, however this did not deter his decision, instead he spent time monthly with other Marines preparing for his enlistment. Upon turning 18 and graduating from high school in June, Zach headed off to boot camp to swear in to the United States Marine Corps. Zach's mom said he was that person that everyone loved. She remembered how she would go into the local grocery store and Zach would be playing with a child while the mom paid for the groceries, or chatting up the older people in the cafe. The grocery store deli attendant, an older woman, misses how Zach used to come in and say hello and ask how she was. Typically, teenagers don't really "associate" with older people, but Zach really seemed to care how she was doing and always put a smile on her face. Although Zach died 6 months ago, the Smiths are still receiving an outpouring of love, Kim says she can really tell how much the community loves and misses him.

Zach and his family were very close. Their family "thing" was to pound the chest twice when seeing each other (from how I understand, kind of like an I Love You thing, ya know, a "thing"), when Zach was in boot camp, he signed his letters # #. Anne and Kim both told me about when they would read the letters and say Number sign number sign?? Until they realized it was actually Pound Pound - he was keeping up a family tradition even from miles away. When he left for boot camp, Kim created a 93 link paper chain around their home in red, white, and blue, visually counting down the days until he would be home again. Zach has a brother, Nate who is 24 and a sister, Grace who is 11. Kim wanted them to be able to see how close they were getting to Zach's return from boot camp, and she did something similar for his deployment. She counted out marbles for enough days for a 9 month deployment, just in case it went a little long, and her and Grace would put in a marble each night to say good night to Zach and count another day down until their Marine would be home. Like all of us who did not get the homecoming we yearned for, they were ready and waiting for their Marine's return home. The day Zach died, the bottom of the jar had just barely been covered with marbles, he had been in Afghanistan about one month.

Zach's story, just like my Jonny's and so many of the other fallen's, includes a love story as well. Before I begin their story, I just want to tell you a little about Anne from my perspective. Anne is a true good, genuine person. She is one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. She is great with my daughter (my daughter REALLY liked her!) and is the kind of person who would do anything for anyone. And she is one tough cookie, although she doesn't realize it at times, she really is.

Anne met Zach in high school. A mutual friend of theirs actually suggested she talk to Zach and she thought he was a goober! Zach was clearly into her though, and persistent, as he would prank call her often. She always knew it was him and would call him on it but he would of course say oh no it's not me. About 10 months before senior prom, he called her and asked her if she'd be his date and as she says, it all started there. Our unit was originally supposed to deploy in August, and Zach began talking about getting married to his love shortly after finding this out. He wanted to plan a nice wedding before they left. Anne says a lot of people thought they should wait, including her. She thought they could plan a much nicer wedding with more time post deployment but he was persistent. At the time, he wouldn't tell her why, but he did tell his mom that if anything happened to him while deployed, he wanted to know that he married the girl he loved. Zach proposed in a unique and special way. Anne described Zach as a big golfer, and he incorporated his love for golf with his love for Anne. He took her to dinner and then took her to the number 4 hole at a local golf course. This golf course is up on a hill and from it you can see the whole city (this is at night, just picture it people, I did - beautiful!), it is also the hole where he scored his first hole in one (yes, 19 years old and it wasn't his ONLY hole in one, he's gotten TWO!). Anne remembers it was so special because of the moment and the place. Like I said, such a beautiful setting.

They were married on July 25, 2009 a little under 5 months before he deployed. They were married for one day shy of 6 months when he was killed. At the time, Anne thought she was pregnant. One month from the day she was notified, she found out she wasn't. Both Kim and Anne remember that as an extremely hard day. Anne wanted to be pregnant not for a distraction, something to do, or just to be a mom, she wished she were pregnant so she would forever have a piece of Zach with her and finding out she was not was almost as hard as the day she found out Zach was gone. Anne and Zach were true high school sweet hearts and very much in love. She describes him as very funny, having the best sense of humor. He made everyone laugh all the time, and although it may have been his goofiness that first made her hesitant, it was probably that same goofiness and sense of humor that drew her in.

Zach was a real person. Zach is a real soul. He has a real love, a real family, a real story. He had a future. He will never, ever be forgotten, and neither will his family.

To Anne, Kim, Chris, Nate, Grace, and all who knew him, I hope I did him justice. I love you all and you will forever remain in my heart due to this unchosen but very strong bond we all have now. To my blog friends, please lift this family up in your prayers as you have mine, they too can use good thoughts sent their way and never forget this fallen angel, LCpl Zachary Smith.


86 comments

  1. Another sad story, just like your's. Your family, and this family will continue to always be in my thoughts and Prayers.

    ~Alicia

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  2. Thanks for this! Thank you for posting about another fallen.(hugs) to her and her family.

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  3. Very very beautiful and touching!! Many prayers for them, and of course you too Rachel!

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  4. Amazing post. I am sure you did justice, its almost better hearing it from you knowing that you actually know his wife, although this would have been perfect in the People magazine article. Its true all the fallen heroes were real people, with families, with stories. She sounds like an amazing woman as well.
    Have you ever thought of having a career in writing?...I think your writing is amazing.

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  5. you did a wonderful job getting across how he was. I really think you should go into journalism.

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  6. Great post. Sounded amazing.

    As a Marine Wife you try to think these things would never happen. But after stumbling upon your blog, I'm realizing I take the days my husband is home for granite. Thank you for making me appreciate him more.

    All of the families who have lost their Marines will be in my prayers.

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  7. Wow...you continue to amaze me. Thank you for doing this for their families. My husband and I saw the People article today, and were both disgusted that there wasn't more done for the fallen Marines. I can't wait to read about the other fallen Heroes, and want to thank you for showcasing them for all of us who read. :0)

    His family is added to my prayers. God bless.

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  8. Okay so Rachel absolutely amazing writer and thank you for sharing this story with me and the rest of the world! They deserve to know all of the hero's risking their lives every day for us!

    To Anne and Zach's family: I am so deeply sorry for your loss, but even though I didn't know Zach I do know that he is a hero in my eyes and I will make sure everyone I know hears this story as well! He deserves it!!!!

    -Hannah

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  9. many MANY prayers. I think this is a great idea and I am very thankful that you are sharing their stories so we can remember them AND pray for their families!

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  10. I have never read a tribute so well worded and so truly heartfelt. I think this family will feel blessed when they read this.

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  11. Seriously in tears right now. This is a beautiful thing you are doing Rach!! I love this story, and I can't wait to read about the rest of the boys and their families. Prays are a flowing for all these amazing people, and you and the little girl!! <3 you girlie!!

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  12. Wow, Rachel. You are so well spoken in your writing. I feel like I knew him, and the whole family. May he rest in peace, and my prayers are with his family, (and yours, as always)

    Its so sad. :-(

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  13. amazing story. his family is in my prayers, along with you. thanks for sharing his story with all of us.

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  14. one more thing...what an hot couple!!! she is gorgeous!!

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  15. thank you for sharing the stories of the other men. you write great, and it definitely honors our missing guys.

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  16. I have to say this post was absoultly BEAUTIFUL it is such a hard thing to lose the one you love at such a young age I know I am young myself but Racheal this post was so touching and its so wonderful that you are helping other families in there time of loss. You and all the other families of those brave soldiers that have loved ones who have lost there lives fighting this war will always be remebered.
    I pray that Zach and his family will beable to find peace I could't imagine what they and you have been through noone deserves that NOONE!

    Stay strong Anne and the rest of Zachs family we love you and we are here if you ever need anything
    Hooah!

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  17. Rachel, wonderful post! Wonderful honor to both Zach and Anne!

    Anne, it was such an honor to meet you! You are such a sweet and beautiful person inside and out! You and your husband will never be forgotten!

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  18. You did an amazing job on this post, and it's a great idea to share all of their stories.

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  19. thank you for sharing this wonderful story! we lost 66 soldiers in July, and unless you live near one, or know how to hunt and peck on the internet, we don't learn of their story. my heart goes out to the four who died in the C-17 crash at Elmendorf, too, last Thursday.

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  20. I think you have found your calling---telling their stories and getting them out there!

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  21. Thank you for the love story. Just, thank you. I'm speechless.

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  22. What an awesome Tribute and written very well.

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  23. great couple. i have a feeling all of these posts will make me cry. you wrote it so beautifuly

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  24. awwww, what a great memorial in remembrance you've done here. This was lovely :) Thank you for honoring these fallen, brave soldiers and celebrating their lives :)

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  25. What a beautiful and moving tribute to a true American hero. Thank you for sharing his story!

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  26. What a touching story! Thank you for sharing.

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  27. I'm glad I got to meet him through his story. Thanks for sharing Rachel!

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  28. How sad. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I agree that it's important to know about people and not just the names. I know your story made this all very real to me. My heart hurts for all the men, but when you actually see their face, their family its just different.

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  29. what an amazing story of true love!
    thank you for honoring this hero and his family!

    bless you rachel!

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  30. Thank you for sharing that. I think its important to remember all of our lost soldiers, and I know that the families are really going to appreciate the tribute you are paying those soldiers. You are such an amazing woman and each blog you write proves that more and more!

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  31. She is absolutely gorgeous and I am so proud of you for helping to honor more of the fallen. May God be with her and both their families.

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  32. Thank you for sharing this story. I can't wait to read more.

    PS.
    I think you have their wedding date wrong =)

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  33. So glad you shared this... you won't get a news story like this anywhere! They are in my prayers.

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing with us and to his family for allowing us to get to know Zach.

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  35. Again, you remain such an inspiration to us all! In the midst of your own heartache, you are using your resources to share someone ELSE'S story...truly amazing! He sounds like a wonderful young man, thank you for sharing this!

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  36. Thanks for sharing their story:)

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  37. I am SO happy you will be sharing these Heros of 1/6, amazing story, I of course bawled my eyes out, and with each story I read my stomach tightens out of pure fear, it could be any of us... my hubs is an 0311 in the Corps, I already feel that I should be put on some type of meds for anxiety. Thanx again for letting us in on the amazing Marines we've lost. Semper Fi

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  38. My husband and I recently PCS'd to Quantico from Camp Lejeune. I do, however, remember reading about this Marine's death in the paper, as well as your husband's death. It is sobering to put a face and story next to a name you read in the local paper. I always wonder about the name that I read in the paper, and I am glad that you are finally putting a face and story to it.

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  39. To you; to the fallen; to the familes; we have all been affected. I appreciate you remembering them all this way.

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  40. it's really sweet of you to showcase other fallen heroes on here. I appreciate being able to read about their lives and not just how they died. I think it is so important to keep telling their stories to honor their memories and remind our country of the cost of war. it is terrible both you and Anne had to go through the loss of a husband so young, but I am glad you have each other. Anne, Zach and their families are in my thoughts.

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  41. Proud Mom - Cate RichardsAugust 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Thank You Rachel, for this beautiful tribute to an amazing 1/6 Hero! This 1/6 Mom is so proud of all our Marines, and hurts so deeply for our fallen and their families. You are an amazing writer. Thank You for sharing this.

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  42. Amazing post.

    Thanks for sharing his story. :(

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  43. What a beautiful post, and what a truly lovely idea which I'm sure will be appreciated by so many people.

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  44. This is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. God continues to use you to help others.

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  45. I stumbled across your blog..and all I can say...that could remotely, even possibly mean anything to you is that you are so very strong (even just reading a small bit of your life now) and should I ever have to walk in your shoes I would hope that I could just be half as strong as you.

    Thank you for putting my life today, in perspective.

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  46. What an incredibly nice thing for you to do. These stories are all so heartbreaking, but it's so important that they be told. Thanks for sharing these with us and honoring the lives of these soldiers. Thoughts, prayers and MANY THANKS to all the soldiers and their families for the sacrifices they are making daily.

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  47. Thank you for sharing another story of another loved one, another family, another hero we have lost. I wish the MSM would take 1/4 of the time they waste on celebrities that mean less than zero to tell the stories of the great men/woman we have lost in these wars and every war. Everyone of them has a story, every one of their stories deserves to be told.

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  48. Wow. Thanks for sharing this. You're right, these are the stories and the pictures we should carry around to honor Zach and all his fallen brothers and sisters. What a beautiful family.

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  49. My thoughts and prayers are with this beautiful family. We will grieve with you always.

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  50. This is a great idea Rachel!! I purposely receive the DoD notifications in email (morbid? maybe) so each time we lose a servicemember I can know their names and hometowns. They just give you the very basic stats though. It's nice to learn about them as a person and their families. ::hugs::

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  51. Thanks for posting this. Prayers and thoughts. Amazing story.

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  52. Thank you for sharing the life of another hero. This family, as well as yours, will remain in our prayers. God bless you!

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  53. First, they are a seriously hot couple. Second, thank you so much for sharing their story because it really does help the rest of us to know that the brave men and women making sacrifices for us are "real"...not just numbers or ranks. This is heartbreaking...I am so sorry for their loss.

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  54. What a amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will be saying prayers for their families and also all the others we have lost...

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  55. What a great way to share all the Angels stories!

    My bf is on deployment until Dec. or Feb. and although he is on a carrier and not in direct line of fire like so many others... I still worry for his safety!

    Thank you for starting this.. I look forward to reading more.

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  56. Wow that was so beautifully written. Definitely brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine how hard it is to do what you do everyday but I know that yall are the strongest group of people out there. I pray for all of you guys every night and all of our troops.

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  57. How sweet of you to post this. It's so sad We had several homecomings this past weekend with red,white and blue banners and balloons everywhere. It's all very exciting, but I think about those who won't have a happy homecoming.

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  58. Brought me to tears.....how strong of you to focus on others while you are dealing with your own pain right now. I continue to pray for you.

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  59. Brought me to tears....how amazing of you to focus on others while you still have so much to deal with yourself. I continue to pray for you and your family.

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  60. What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

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  61. This is such a touching story. I cry every time I read something like this. My husband lost his brother ( an AMT2 in the US Coast Guard) in 2008 and seeing what my sister in law went through losing her husband was very hard. I can't even imagine being in her shoes, or yours, or any of the many other women who have gone through this. Stay strong!

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  62. Rachel, this is wonderful and beautiful tribute to a fallen hero. You are doing such a good thing.
    ~Sue
    http://armylifeadventures.blogspot.com

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  63. Small world this is one of the Sgts at my husbands previous duty station comes from Hornell and I knew that. Each day I check the KIA's and remember coming accross this young man and seeing that he was from this small town. I emailed the Sgt. and asked her if she knew him and her younger brother went to school with him and the families knew each other quite well.

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  64. Amazing. It broke my heart but I think its an incredible way to continue to honor these brave souls, the fallen and their loved ones, by sharing their stories. Thank you!

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  65. Too young. All of them are just too young. Thank you for making him a person and not just another casualty.

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  66. I just want to encourage you to keep writing about their stories. I think it's wonderful to share their LIVES with others. My husband is currently deployed and has been in the Army for almost 2 years now. For quite some time before he joined, he would look up the casualities and try and find out about that person. He was always amazed and how often times nothing was put out about them, just a line that they were KIA. I agree with you, it's important to tell us who they are. Great post. Another great man, and great family.

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  67. Thank you so much for sharing that. It is important that all these amazing men and their stories get known! Most people only see a rank, a name, and an age on a list and never know anything more. They know deep down there are families in mourning, lives lost and changed... but getting a glimpse of these amazing lives is truly a privelege. So thank you for giving us such a powerful insight. Zacharay and his wife and family will be in my prayers tonight.

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  68. One of my husband's best friends did not come home from this deployment and I am good friends with his wife. The journey is so tough. THe only consolation is to know that they died fighting for what they loved with the brothers that they loved, but it does not take the pain away. Thanks for taking the time to share this story. Every man deserves his story to be told. A legacy to live on. They will NEVER be forgotten.

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  69. Thank you for posting this. I smile with tears. A beautiful life, story, family and wife. God bless them all.

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  70. Thank you for posting this. Thank you for sharing his story. Too many times we just see another name, another statistic and that's it. Their story is heartbreaking but so many people are getting too used to just seeing the numbers and not the KIDS and men behind it.

    Thank you.

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  71. Thank you for sharing. So touching and beautiful. Blessings to you. You are always in my heart and thoughts!

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  72. Thank you so much for sharing his story with us. I'm in tears. I wish more people could learn about the people behind the name on the news. What a beautiful way to honor him. He will never be forgotten!!

    Thank you again.

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  73. The stories of fallen HERO'S never get any easier to read. God bless each one of them and their families. I cannot imagine what you and the others have gone through. Your strength is amazing, keep pushing forward everyday because you have many people praying for you and all the families.

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  74. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into the life of this amazing man and his wonderful family. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  75. Amazing. I'm so glad to be able to know more about you, Jonny, Anne, Zach and both your families. Thank you for sharing.

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  76. Thank you so much for posting this article on Zach. I am from Hormell and went to school with his parents. I heard from my family and friends how our little town came out for his final trip home. Then I heard about Jonny. I now live in Pinellas Park and took my daughter to 4th St in St Pete for his final trip home. All I could do was think about what had happened a few months before back in Hornell. I saw you waving and thanking everyone for being there. I thought you were so brave to do that. I know I couldnt have. It was by coincidence I found your blog through SpouseBuzz. I did not know that Zach and Jonny were in the same unit either until now. Like they say, its a small world.

    Praying for you and Anne and both families.

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  77. thank you for blogging about zach. this week i met a NYS trooper while visiting home (belfast, NY - about 20m from hornell) that was sharing that he worked with chris and that his son zach had been killed in action.... my husband is a marine and i'm always proud to share that during conversations with people i meet --- it allowed this trooper to share about zach... and then, here i am checking out your blog again this week and find the post about him. i didn't know zach or his family --- but small world, isn't it?

    we think about your family often and have actually made some major decision about my husband's career based on your blog. thank you for sharing with the world to read.

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  78. I am in tears reading about Zach and his family & his love story of him and his wife... Thank you for sharing his story with all of us.

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  79. I live in Hornell and was, am, a friend of Zach's...thank you for posting this and speaking of him as a person with a family, a true love and a life instead of just another number on a list of casualties. I wish I had been able to read this sooner but now that I know of this page I will be back often I am sure. Thank you for getting his story out there...we all greatly appreciate it, you have no idea.

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  80. Thank you for this story, please let the family know that they are in my thoughts and that I am sorry for their loss.

    This brought tears to my eyes. It is so hard when you hear about another fallen Marine, any MM, but as a Marine wife my heart breaks every time.

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  81. thankyou for this beautiful tribute. This week brings the one year anniversary of Zach's death and i just happen to stumble across your blog (i'm sure with a little guidance from an angel). you have shared Zach and Anne's story so beautifully to so many people. Anne is my niece and this year as u know has been very difficult to endure but the prayers do make a difference, thank you. God bless you and your little girl, and i'm sorry for your loss of your best friends. I pray for you and I pray for 'peace on earth'.

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  82. I was Zach and Anne's Accounting 1 teacher at HHS. He was always goofing. He made me laugh though. I could never be mad at him. What can I say about Anne, she is beautiful and smart. I admired them. Their Love was so genuine and special. I wish I had that type of LOVE. It was rare. I have been sad for Anne and his family since it happened. I will always think of them. They are always ion my prayers. Today marked his 1 year since he left us. I thought about him, Anne, and his family. I hate how great people lose thier lives at war for being brave for our country. My 11 year old is into military but I will not let him ever join. I am so against it since what happend to Zach. It scares me so much. I grew up in Hornell and remember his parents being childhood sweethearts just like Zach and Anne. He will always be a part of our lives for the people who were touched by him. I feel you did him and his family well by this site. You told such an amazing story of their lives. It is beautiful....

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  83. I still remember Zach and how he could make anyone smile. I miss him. We are planning a 5k run/walk in his honor to raise money for his memorial scholarship fund. The date is set for June 18, 2011 we welcome all participants to come and celebrate Zach's life

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  84. Thank you for telling their story. Simply beautiful!
    -A Hornellian

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