A 19-year-old Marine who wasn't allowed to wear his uniform at high school graduation was killed this week in Afghanistan, Fox News reports. Brandon Garabrant, 19, died along with two other Marines when a roadside bomb went off. "He absolutely loved doing what he was doing," said the chief of a Temple, NH, volunteer fire department where Garabrant was a member, WMUR reports. "He knew the sacrifice and he was still willing to do it and it was a total shock to hear the news." Department members said a prayer and lowered its flag to half-staff as family, friends, and colleagues remembered Garabrant's devotion to his work and excitement about being a Marine.
The high school principal who wouldn't let Garabrant wear his uniform at graduation last year said the school was "shocked and deeply saddened" by his death. "We are incredibly grateful for his service to our country," said ConVal Regional High School principal Brian Pickering. But Garabrant's mother, Jessie, was at odds with Pickering last year, saying the school should let her son celebrate having graduated from boot camp the day before commencement, the Boston Globe reports.
- "I think that is just a disgrace, very disrespectful," she told CBS Boston at the time. "It’s important to acknowledge these children that make these decisions."
- But school officials said graduation was about school unity, and Pickering added that making an exception for one student would only open the floodgates: "You begin to wonder where to draw the line," he said.