He was days away from coming home for a visit, instead he came home after making the ultimate sacrifice. News 4's Jonathan Vigliotti is in Rockville Centre with the heartache.
Bagpipes reverberated through tears and heartache as a Long Island community stricken by tragedy came together to pay their respects to Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr., barely 21 years old when he was killed in an attack by a policeman in Afghanistan.
"Me and Greg, we just had so many good memories," Buckley's best friend Sebastian Buttafuoco said. "All my best memories were with Greg."
Buttafuoco joined hundreds of friends and relatives to say goodbye to Buckley at his funeral Saturday. Outside St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre, friends and family struggled to make sense of their loss.
"I didn't want to believe it the first night I heard it," said Buckley's friend Markiquse Chess. "You know it's just something that none of us thought about."
Buckley joined the Marines to set a good example for his brothers, they said, but in the weeks leading up to his death he told friends he didn't have a good feeling and wanted to come home.
He was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan, where he trained Afghan allies to become police officers. One of those trainees shot and killed Buckley and two other U.S. Marines after sharing a meal with them.
"Greg was one of the most amazing men I have ever, all of us, have ever met in our lives," said Buckley's friend Nicole Pollock. "He will always be with us."
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