Marine Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank
Died June 09, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
25, of Cameron Mills, N.Y.; assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 9 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
(The following was taken from www.sungazette.com of June 21, 2010) ELKLAND - The family of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Michael G. Plank, 25, bade him "good night" during funeral services here Sunday afternoon.
Plank was killed June 9 while serving his country in Afghanistan.
Referring to Plank as a "hero," the Rev. Larry O'Dell, pastor at Parkhurst Memorial Presbyterian Church, asked the 100 or so family and friends gathered in the sanctuary to "never forget" their fallen loved one but rather to "make him part of your life, now and forevermore."
O'Dell spoke of losses in his own life - two grandchildren and his father - and related to Plank's family that though the day of his funeral and burial - Father's Day - always would be "an infamous" day for them and that it probably never would be "better" for them, there will come a day when "you don't cry as much" when you think of him.
"They aren't really gone as long as you hold them dear in your heart," he said to Plank's mother, Kathy; his two brothers, Dominic and Jerry; and his stepfather, Butch Parker, who sat in the front pew in front of Plank's flag-draped casket.
He also said Plank defined the word "love" as spoken by Jesus in John 15 - "there is no greater love than that of he who lays down his life for his friends."
"Michael Plank demonstrated that to you - his mom, dad and family - love," he said.
O'Dell then asked the attendees to stand and place their hands over their hearts, a civilian sign of respect to those in the military, and to say "good night," addressing Plank however seemed fitting.
At the end of the service, six Marines carried Plank's casket to a waiting hearse and then returned to accompany the family to their cars and on to the burial site at Northrup Hill Cemetery, in Rathbone, N.Y., with full military honors.
In attendance at the funeral was state Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Howard, who gave his condolences to Plank's mother.
About 40 members of the Patriot Guard, a "mostly veterans" motorcycle club that accompanied the hearse bearing Plank's body from Williamsport, where the club is based. They also stood at attention outside the church, bearing American flags and saluting as Plank's casket was carried out of the church.
The group waited for several hours at the Market Street Bridge on Thursday for the casket and Plank's family to arrive from Dover, Del.
The family had experienced car trouble on the Northeast Extension of the state turnpike, putting them back several hours, according to John G. Heck, a retired captain in the Army and veteran of the Vietnam conflict.
Heck and fellow Vietnam veteran Mickey Finn, the senior ride captain of the Patriot Guard and a retired staff sergeant in the Air Force, presented the late Marine's mother and stepfather with plaques honoring Plank as a "true American hero."