Wednesday, March 21, 2007

LCPL Nicholas S. Perez

Today, I had my first sub assignment at LCPL Nicholas S. Perez Elementary School. Outside the main doors to the school, next to the plaque dedicating the school (this is the school's first year of operation), is another plaque honoring the Lance Corpoal. From this plaque, we learn he was part of 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Division of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. He was the first casualty of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Austin and Travis County, Texas. He was killed September 3, 2004 in Al Anbar Province.

Inside the school, in the display case outside the main office, LCPL Perez's dress uniform jacket is on display, complete with all his medals, first among them his Purple Heart.

I apologize for the poor quality of these images. I didn't bring my nice camera with me to work, so I had to make due with my new camera phone.

I didn't have time to read the write-ups inside the display case (I was there to work, after all), so I decided to see what I could learn about LCPL Perez when I got home this afternoon. Sadly, there's not a whole lot of detail out there.

I learned that his mother attended a Memorial Day service in 2005 where Austin Bay had been asked to speak.

I am left to wonder exactly what mission was in progress that resulted in Nicholas giving the Ultimate Sacrifice.

There was a candlelight vigil held in his honor at his alma mater.

His best friend joined the Marine Corps a month before he did.

Tejanos in Action started the campaign to get a new elementary school being built in Austin named in honor of LCPL Perez. They succeeded, and the new school was dedicated on October 15, 2006.

There is a memorial page on the Military Times website.

Unfortunately, I also discovered an anti-war group is using his name and image to petition Congress to end the war. I have no idea what his parents' stance on the war is, so I have no idea whether this was done with their permission, or not.

The school's mascot is the python, and it's colors are red and gold. While doing after-school crossing guard duty out front of the school, I noticed the lanyards the teachers wore around their necks were Marine Corps red & gold...

It is good to know, though, that LCPL Nicholas S. Perez will not be forgotten. I can only hope that he will stand as a positive role model for all the students of the elementary school which bears his name.