Mourners bade a tearful farewell to a 19-year-old Marine from Mastic Beach Saturday at a service at Calverton National Cemetery.
Marines in dress uniform carried the flag-draped casket of Lance Cpl. Nicholas Buscarnera to an assembly area as flags flapped in the wind on a cool morning. After his family sat and more than 100 mourners gathered, he was honored with a 21-gun salute.
His father, Vincente, a former Marine, said at a gathering after the service that he wanted his son to be remembered for the joy he brought to people's lives.
"Just look around you at all his friends and family," he said, waving his hand at those huddled -- many in uniform -- around more than a dozen tables at the Mastic Beach Fire House. "They loved him."
Buscarnera was killed Jan. 6 or 7, about 30 miles north of his base at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C.
A U.S. Forest Service officer found the vehicle he was riding in upside down and partially submerged in a canal off Catfish Lake Road in Craven County, N.C.
Buscarnera was reportedly a passenger in the car driven by Skyler D. Way, a Marine from upstate Gouverneur, who also died in the crash. The crash was caused by excessive speed, authorities said.
Officials at Camp Lejeune said the men were assigned to the 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
Buscarnera and his girlfriend, Krista Lynn Amato, 20, had planned to wed next year. She said she was dealing with the loss with the help of friends and family. "I love him more than anything in the world," Amato said. "I'm so grateful to have had his heart."
Buscarnera's casket was escorted to the cemetery by a procession of the Patriot Guard Riders, a volunteer group, whose members held flags during the ceremony. Marines folded the flag that draped the casket and handed it to his mother, Jennifer.
"Bless this grave that the body of our brother may sleep here in peace," said Lt. Brian Hamer, chaplain in the United States Naval Reserves, in a brief ceremony that was followed by a trumpeter playing "Taps."
Buscarnera's parents placed carnations on the casket. His father saluted the casket, then laid his head on it. Other mourners followed, including Amato, supported on either side by men.
After the service, Amato hugged each flag bearer. "I'm so grateful for everything they did," she said.
He will be buried in a private ceremony at a later date.
He is survived by his parents and sister, Julia.