At age 19, Christopher Mabry is one of the latest victims of the attacks in Iraq. The 2003 Clarkdale honors graduate was one of twelve U.S. Marines killed this week in an ambush in an area just west of Baghdad known as Ramady.
Family members were watching news repots on the ongoing conflicts when they got the news late Wednesday night.
"I was watching that and eating a bag of popcorn when my son came in and just sort of leaned over me and said, 'Christopher's dead! And I said, 'What?' It didn't register and he said, 'Christopher is dead and,' and I said, 'NO!' But I got up at the same time from the chair and heard someone coming in the door and when I looked it was the four Marine officers and I knew it was true," says Mabry's grandmother Frances.
"You can't explains it," says Christopher's father Louis. "It's just unbelievable. I don't understand why. Many questions but NO answers yet!"
"He died for our country," says Christopher’s mother Nancy. "This is a fight for us...our freedom."
"We tried to talk him originally into joining the Navy or the Air Force because we felt it was less dangerous. Christopher said, 'No!' He wanted the Marines because it was suppose to be the toughest military field and he wanted the infantry because it was supposed to be the toughest group. He said if I can do that I know I can do anything, he made it!" says Christopher's grandmother, Frances Mabry.
Family members say the last time they spoke with Christopher it was by phone two weeks ago when he told them that he wanted to come home. Within the next week, family members say that will likely happen but not in the way they had hoped.
The pain for relatives is deepened because Christopher was less than a month away from his 20th birthday. However, despite their loss, family members say they support U.S. troops in Iraq and now have one wish.
"Christopher died. I don't want it to be in vain. Let's finish it. Let's wrap it up," says Mabry's mother, Nancy.
At this time funeral arrangements for Mabry are yet to be made. One of the twelve marines killed in this week's attacks was from Alabama. His identity has not yet been released.