Marine Barred From Wearing Uniform to Graduation Killed in Afghanistan

Saturday, 21 Jun 2014 02:58 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A 19-year-old Marine who was refused permission to wear his uniform to his high school graduation last year was one of three servicemen killed by a roadside bomb Friday morning in Afghanistan.

"The entire state of New Hampshire is devastated by the tragic loss of Lance Cpl. Brandon Garabrant, who was bravely serving his nation in Afghanistan," Governor Maggie Hassan said in a statement Friday, reports CBS affiliate WBZ in Boston.

"Our service men and women courageously sacrifice every day to protect their fellow citizens and defend the enduring value of freedom that is our very core, and in doing so, Lance Corporal Garabrant made the ultimate sacrifice."

When Garabrant graduated from ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough last year, he requested to wear his uniform during the commencement exercises, but the school would not permit it.

He had completed enough of his high school credits by January 2013, allowing him to leave school and head off to Marine boot camp in South Carolina. After he graduated from boot camp, he went back for his high school graduation, and asked to wear his uniform instead of the traditional cap and gown.

School officials said they spoke with the student council, and with faculty members with military experience or family in the military, and the consensus was that all the students should dress alike and none should have been singled out.

On Friday, the school released a statement expressing its condolences to Garabrant's family and friend for his death.

"We are all shocked and deeply saddened by his passing and we are incredibly grateful for his service to our country," said Principal Brian Pickering.

Garabrant also served as a volunteer firefighter in Temple, N.H.

A memorial page has been set up on Facebook.

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