Fallen Marine honored on Aiken's Veterans Memorial Wall

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

February 17, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---25-year-old Cpl. Matthew Dillon was killed in Iraq eight weeks ago when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. Today his name was permanently placed on Aiken's Veterans Memorial Wall.

The life of a brave marine is now remembered for all to see.

"We are here today to recognize a hero and unveil his name on a hero's wall. That hero's name is Matt Dillon, my brother," said Lt. Robert Dillon at the ceremony.

25-year-old Cpl. Matthew Dillon was a brother, a son, and a Marine. He fought for his country in two tours of duty in Iraq.

He was a hero who would become the second Aiken soldier killed while fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Matt, and I'm certain the other 153 names displayed on this wall of honor, died defending the same core values: honor, courage, commitment," said Cpl. Dillon's father, Neal Dillon.

Cpl. Dillon fought bravely as both a National Guardsman and a Marine.

His dream of making a career as a Marine ended almost as soon as it started.

He and three others were killed when their Humvee was struck by a massive roadside bomb on December 11.

"On this day, they were among the few and the proud that made the supreme sacrifice," said Neal Dillon. "This was his final test of honor, courage and commitment."

Two months later, his family and the Aiken community are still grieving the loss.

"There is no final closure until we are in the grave beside him," Neal Dillon said. "Each day we just learn to live with it. It doesn't get any easier. Time does not heal all wounds."

Now his family is adjusting to life without him, vowing to live like Matthew did: facing every day with honor, courage, and commitment.

Aiken's mayor declared next week a week of honor in Marine Cpl. Matthew Dillon's name.

Aiken's Young Marines have also started a scholarship in his name.


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