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Remembering Juan Lopez 8 Years After His Death

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Remembering Juan Lopez 8 Years After His Death

San Luis de la Paz, Gto. Tuesday, July 4, 2012.  In a July 4 like today, but in 2004, was buried in the city cemetery Juan Lopez, a Ludovicense who died in Iraq during the Second Persian Gulf War.  Some of his fellow U.S. Marines came to San Luis de la Paz for the funeral.  At the cemetery, there was an incident that made the news around the world. Mexican soldiers interrupted the burial, claiming the use of rifles by the U.S. military, which did not have bullets because they were ceremonial, since it was against Mexican law. 

The story of Juan Lopez is the one of millions of Mexicans and many Ludovicenses, who in search of a better life as a teenager migrated to the United States.  In Dalton, Georgia, he joined his father and brother, and ended his high school studies in 2001.

After graduation, Juan enlisted in the Marines.  He was sent to the Iraq war, where he died in an ambush on June 21, 2004, in Anbar province, along with three other comrades. He was 22 years old and had married 6 months before his demise. 

Following a private service in Dalton, Georgia, the family decided to bury him in San Luis de la Paz, since his mother, sisters and wife lived here.  Upon arrival, his remains were veiled according to local custom. A Holy Mass was celebrated before a large crowd at San Luis Rey Parish.

The procession to the cemetery was also packed.  Throughout the process, American Marines escorted him until the unpleasant episode occurred.  After nearly an hour of discussion, the Mexican army simply walked away and the Marines headed to Mexico City. The dispute was reported by the media worldwide. 

*** Our condolences to the family of Juan Lopez. Likewise, today we send warm greetings to all our brothers and sisters from Guanajuato living in the United States; but especially to those serving in the U.S. armed forces around the world.

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