Danville's East Bay Fellowship Church was filled with an overflow crowd and an equal amount of emotion for Lance Cpl. Joshua "Chachi" Corral, who was laid to rest following a moving memorial service on Wednesday.
Corral, a San Ramon Valley High School graduate of 2010, was killed on Nov. 18 during combat operations in Afghanistan. Corral, 19, served in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
The memorial included the sharing of memories from fellow Marines, friends and two immediate family members of the fallen hero. Presentation of the flag, the playing of taps and a 21-gun salute followed before the funeral procession continued to Lafayette's Oakmont Cemetery for a private burial.
Family spokesperson Vintage Foster read the following statement prepared by the Corral family.
"When our son decided to join the Marines, he did so without hesitation. He believed in the honor and purpose of serving his country. As parents it was natural of us to challenge whether this was the right time and the right role for his life. His response, again without hesitation, "I want to make a difference." Mission accomplished.
"We have witnessed firsthand, through his life and through his passing, how he has touched, encouraged and inspired countless lives. We want all of America to know that we are honored by his decision to serve our country and his commitment to live his life as a man of God."
A poignant message was posted to Corral's online obituary guest book by "Marine Mom" in Missouri. "Please know a grateful nation shares your sorrow and your pride. Your beloved Joshua gave all his tomorrows so that ours could remain free. That is a debt we can never repay. Your Marine family across this great land offers you our deepest condolences."
And another was posted by Donna Maxwell of San Ramon. "Please know that people throughout the San Ramon Valley, as well as this nation, share your grief. My husband and I attended the memorial service at San Ramon Valley High. Because of the impact your son had on the people he knew, we left feeling like we knew him as well. Kind, funny, brave, loyal and true, a wonderful son, grandson, brother, Marine and friend ... May God watch over you all during this time. Joshua and the entire Corral family are in our thoughts and prayers."
Remembrances leading up to Wednesday's funeral included a gathering along the streets leading to the family home on Nov. 21, a candlelight prayer vigil at All Wars Memorial in Danville's Oak Hill Park the next night and a memorial last Saturday at San Ramon Valley High School's football field.
A memorial fund has been established at Bank of the West. Direct donations to "Memorial fund in memory of Joshua Corral," Account No. 25916759, Bank of the West, 307 Diablo Road, Danville, CA 94526.