|Birth: ||Oct. 3, 1959|
|Death: ||Dec. 20, 1989|
A Peruvian immigrant who joined the United States Army last year in the hope of furthering his education today became the first of the soldiers killed in Panama to be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Alejandro I. Manriquelozano, one of the 23 United States servicemen killed last week, was laid to rest in a field of identical white marble tombstones that rose like stiff frozen flowers from the snow.
Army officers at the gravesite and at the Pentagon said they knew almost nothing about the 30-year-old soldier. But family members from Lima and New York said that Specialist Manriquelozano had loved America, and that he had not died in vain because he he had been defending the nation's ideals.
Even so, there was a clash of cultures after the last soft notes of a bugler's taps drifted off into the cold winter air.
As Army officers tried to preserve the strict precision of the ceremony, relatives from Peru spilled out their indignation over how they were treated by the Pentagon when they tried to learn what happened to the slain soldier. They also told of their struggle to raise money and obtain the necessary visas to get to Washington in time to attend his funeral.
His parents, two sisters, brother and two uncles were ultimately able to travel here, family members said, through the aid of Representative Gary Ackerman, Democrat of Queens, who heard of their plight from neighbors in his district.
Mr. Ackerman learned that the Manriquelozano family had been denied visas by the American Embassy in Peru and that they lacked the money for airline tickets or hotel rooms here.
The Congressman, reached by telephone this evening, said he had arranged for visas and persuaded an airline to cover the round-trip fares. He said he personally shared the cost of two rooms with a hotel chain.
''I think it's embarrassing that these people gave up a son to fight for this country, for him to be buried with full honors in the national cemetery, and then no one shows any concern for the parents to come to the funeral,'' Mr. Ackerman said. ''They should have a good impression of the country they gave their son's life to.'' He Parachutes, Then Dies
An antitank weapons specialist with the 82d Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., Specialist Manriquelozano parachuted onto the airfield at Torrijos International Airport on Dec. 20 and was immediately killed by machine gun fire, family members said, relaying what they were told by the Army.
Jose Canales, a cousin from Peru who manages a hotel in Manhattan, said that Specialist Manriquelozano came to the United States five years ago and settled in Lauderhill, Fla. He gained the status of a permanent resident alien when he married an American two years ago.
Mr. Canales said that the young man's dream was to become a civil engineer, and he hoped the army would be his route to a college education and a higher-paying job to help his family back in Peru.
At the burial, the Army presented the soldier's widow, Sheree, and his mother, Angelica, each with a folded American flag and a purple heart. His parents, in an interview later in the day, said that he had called them on Dec. 16 and confided in his father that he would be going to Panama.
from the NY Times
Specialist Fourth Class, 30 years old; Co. D, 2d Battalion, 504th Infantry (PIR), Fort Bragg, NC; home of record - Florida (at Panama Viejo, Panama City, 20 Dec 89)
(bio by: Donna)
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 60 Grave 2992
Created by: Research Guru
Record added: Apr 18, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13993571