ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Interstate 25 was closed briefly this morning as procession moved north. Gov. Richardson directed that state flags be flown at half-staff.
The body of Marine Lance Cpl. Emilian Sanchez arrived around 10:30 this morning at Cutter Aviation at the Albuquerque International Sunport and was transported home to Santa Ana Pueblo in a hearse, accompanied by an honor guard and police escort, KOB-TV reported.
Police briefly closed I-25 as the procession passed by, Eyewitness News 4 reported.
The 20-year-old Marine, who had been in Iraq just two months, died of wounds he received during a combat operation in Iraq's Anbar Province on Jan. 21. He assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., the Journal reported last week.
Funeral services haven't been publicly announced yet, but Eyewitness News 4 reported that family and friends will be able to pay their respects at Sanchez's family home in Santa Ana Pueblo until 7 p.m. tonight.
He is survived by his parents, David and Jennie Sanchez of Santa Ana Pueblo, and a brother, Joey Sanchez.
Gov. Bill Richardson announced Sanchez's death at a news conference in Santa Fe last Tuesday morning and said at the time that he had ordered flags to fly at half-staff on the day of Sanchez's funeral, the Journal reported.
Josh McNeil, communications officer in the Governor's Office, told ABQjournal.com that the date of the funeral hadn't been set but would be held some day this week.
Meanwhile, flags that had been flying at half-staff to honor former President Gerald R. Ford, who died last month, went back to full staff last Thursday, when the mourning period ended.
UPDATE: press release from Gov. Richardson
Governor Richardson Lowers Flags to Half Staff in Honor of Marine Lance Cpl. Emilian Sanchez
SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson today (Monday, Jan. 29, 2007) ordered flags to fly at half-staff in honor of Marine Lance Cpl Emilian Sanchez, who passed away on Sunday, January 21, 2007, in Al Anbar Province in Iraq.
Lance Cpl. Sanchez was born in Albuquerque and grew up in Santa Ana Pueblo and Sandia Pueblo.
Lance Cpl. Sanchez served with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). I Marine Expeditionary Force. He joined the Marine Corps in July, 2005. His unit arrived in Al Anbar Province in late November, 2006.
In honor of Lance Cpl. Sanchez’s sacrifice, Governor Richardson signed an Executive Order directing that state flags be flown at half-staff from Tuesday, January 30, 2007, until sundown on Wednesday, January 31, 2007.
The text of the executive order follows:
EXECUTIVE ORDER 2007-003
FLAGS FLOWN AT HALF STAFF IN HONOR AND MOURNING
OF LANCE CORPORAL EMILIAN DAMIEN SANCHEZ
WHEREAS, United States Marine Lance Cpl. Emilian Damien Sanchez tragically lost his life while serving his country in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, on Sunday, January 21, 2007;
WHEREAS, Lance Cpl. Sanchez was born in Albuquerque and raised in both Santa Ana Pueblo and Sandia Pueblo;
WHEREAS, Lance Cpl. Sanchez was assigned to the Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), I Marine Expeditionary Force, and had been in the Marine Corps since July, 2005. His unit, based at Camp Pendleton, California, arrived in Anbar province in late November, 2006;
WHEREAS, Lance Cpl. Sanchez is survived by his parents, David and Jennie Sanchez of Santa Ana Pueblo, his Grandmother Anna Sanchez of Sandia Pueblo, Sisters Bernadine Sanchez, Diane Sanchez and Leona Chavez, Brothers Aubrey Sanchez, Joey Sanchez and Adrian Sanchez, all of Santa Ana Pueblo, and fiancé Charmayne Johns of Crystal, New Mexico, and other extended family members from both Pueblos; and
WHEREAS, Lance Cpl. Sanchez’s patriotism, bravery and dedication to the State of New Mexico will always be remembered.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Governor Bill Richardson, Governor of the State of New Mexico, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of the State of New Mexico, do hereby order that all flags be flown at half-staff from Tuesday, January 30, 2007, until sundown on Wednesday, January 31, 2007, in honor and mourning of United States Marine Lance Cpl. Emilian Damien Sanchez. The thoughts and prayers of the people of New Mexico go out to his family as well as a heartfelt thank you for his courageous service.
ATTEST: DONE AT THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE THIS
29TH DAY OF JANUARY, 2007
MARY HERRERA WITNESS MY HAND AND THE GREAT SEAL
SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO