Family, friends find love and hope at LCpl David Lee Espinoza’s funeral mass

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 10:01 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The procession route eventually led Lance Corporal Espinoza to St. Patrick Church, where friends and family were able to pray and grieve in a trusted place of worship.

There, those that loved David appeared to find comfort following the love and encouragement displayed by the community and veterans across the state.

Skies were gray, as supporters began to arrive at St. Patrick Church to honor and celebrate the life of Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza.

“It means a lot. It shows the community really supports the military. Honestly, this is a very, very big turnout and it shows much the community cares about one of our own,” one veteran told us.

Christian Gonzalez, a Marine Sergeant, said, “It’s a tragedy. It’s actually brought me sadness to have that happen. I mean an American has died first and foremost, then a servicemember and United States Marine, and then so close to home from Laredo. It’s just tragic.”

Two tributes were visible just a few feet apart from each other.

At the central fire station across the street from the church, a billowing flag was erected by two trucks, as dozens of police officers and firefighters waited to salute Espinoza and his family.

In front of the church, close to a hundred veterans stood proudly at the entrance holding large flags.

Joe Fresco Crash drove in from Brownsville to organize the salute.

“When a soldier falls, it’s also very important to know that we stand behind them as veterans, as a community, and know that every veteran when they pass, God forbid, they know they will not have that last ride alone. They know their brothers and sisters have their back,” he said.

Inside the church, Bishop James Tamayo conducted the service as the procession prepared to take Espinoza on his last journey through the city to his final resting place.

Some lingering thoughts remained for those taking part in today’s services.

“At the end of the day, somebody serving the country, who is willing to serve the left and the right- -whoever is in administration-- they’re willing to serve and their life was lost.”

“It hurts every one of us. All around the globe where we have Marines, even if we don’t know them. They’re our brothers, our blood, our brothers and sisters and when one of them goes down like that, it hurts every single one of us. It doesn’t matter who you are we all bleed the same color.”

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