By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 10/5/10
Rightfully so, two heroes are now resting peacefully side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery.
A funeral service was held Monday at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception for Lt. (SEAL) Brendan Looney, USN, who died in a helicopter
crash on September 21 during a military tour in the Zabul province, Afghanistan.
Afterwards, Lt. Looney (Navy, 04) and his best friend, Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, were buried next to each other at Arlington. Manion, a graduate of La Salle College High who stood out on the lacrosse field, died on April 29, 2007, by enemy sniper fire in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq while fighting in a patrol mission.
Lt. Manion, who became a Marine Corps officer after graduation from the Naval Academy with Lt. Looney, also was an All-American wrestler at La Salle.
Nearly 2,000 people attended the wake Sunday at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md. for Lt. Looney, who was one of nine people killed when a Blackhawk helicopter went down. He had been due to return to the United States today in transition to return to civilian life.
The line of mourners wrapped around the gymnasium, and the wait to get inside was nearly two hours. Flags around the school were lowered to half-mast. Lt. Manion and Lt. Looney, roommates together at the Academy, were best friends and it had been Lt. Manion’s wish to be buried beside his friend.
Lt. Manion’s remains were removed Friday from Calvary Cemetery in West Conshohocken, where they have been since his death.
Lt. Looney was 29.
Ryan Manion Borek, Lt. Manion’s sister, gave these comments in an interview with Phillylacrosse.com Monday evening:
“For us, in a way,, this is bittersweet,” she said. “We are devesated by the loss of Brendan; and in the same tense we have some comfort that Travis and and Brendan are buried side-by-side.
“We hope this country understands the two sacrifices made by guys that had so much left to live for. They were cut from the same cloth; they were big family guys and great scholars.
“In terms of lacrosse, Travis was a great lacrosse player in high school who wen on to wrestle at the Academy. Brendan also was a lacrosse player at the Academy.
“They had such a strong bond that can’t be duplicated. It’s a sad time for us now, but down the line it’s a great thing for both families that they are at the same spot, resting side-by-side.”
Manion Borek said that her family took great solace in granting her brother’s wishes to be at Arlington with his best friend.
“Travis told me before he passed away that if anything happened to him while he was in Iraq that he wanted to be buried at Arlington,” she said. “And he told a Marine Corps Major the same thing.
“We ended up burying him in our family cemetery so he could be close to his mother. She visited him every week. But we had numerous family talks about moving him down and we never had a headstone put in.
“A month ago we started making the move to Arlington and then we heard of Brenda’s death. The first thing his wife, Amy, said when she was told about his passing is that she wanted him buried together with Travis.”
On Monday night, Katie Couric on CBS and Brian Williams on NBC were scheduled to run stories on Lt. Manion and Lt. Looney, on their friendship and sacrifice for this country.
In lieu of flowers the Looney family has requested that donations in Brendan’s name be made to the Travis Manion Foundation.