MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- A memorial service was held for a fallen Marine Aug. 12 at the Base Chapel.
The chapel was silent as Marines who knew Sgt. Christopher J. Jordan, computer programmer for Marine Corps Systems Command here, searched around as if lost and confused, looking for reason behind their friend's death.
Marines are thought of as tough warriors, but none were ashamed to shed tears for their friend and fellow Marine.
Jordan was hit by a car while crossing a road in Atlanta Aug. 2. He was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital where he died due to massive head trauma.
Jordan was 24 years old and had no life-threatening medical conditions, but still death knocked at his door. The death of Jordan came as a shock to many people, especially Terry Jordan, his mother, Chanelle Jordan, his wife and Sgt. Albert Perez, a close friend.
Perez was informed about his friend's death Aug. 3 while shopping in the Seven-Day Store on base. The tragic news overwhelmed him, blocking out the surrounding world, he said.
"I couldn't see anybody and I couldn't breathe," said Perez. "It felt like somebody plugged up my ears and punched me right in the chest. I was just confused and I couldn't make sense of what was going on."
Perez has known Jordan for more than a year and during that time they became good friends.
Perez said he will truly miss his friendship, but during the time they knew each other, Jordan has made an everlasting impression on him. With Jordan's outgoing personality and charismatic ways, Perez learned to "loosen up," he said.
Most of the time Jordan wore a smile, was always happy and in a good mood, said Perez. He cannot recall the last time Jordan was bothered by something. But if he was, he always had good friends to turn to. One thing that will always remain in Perez's mind is Jordan's carefree laugh.
"He was very sincere. He opened his heart and he'd let you in," said Perez. "That was just the kind of person he was. I could never stay mad at him because he was just too good of a guy."
Jordan was down to earth and very personal with the people he knew. If someone ever needed his help or guidance, no matter what he was doing he would be there to help. Jordan was in Atlanta because he was helping a friend. If Jordan knew what would happen in Atlanta, he probably still would have gone, said Perez.
"He was very personal with his Marines," said Perez. "He helped them out in ways other than the Marine Corps, whether it was school, or advising them in personal matters or just being an 'older brother'. What set him apart from other sergeants was his personal connection with his Marines."
To ease the pain, Perez reminisces of old times, but it will take some time for him to adjust to Jordan's absence, he said.
"He lived right across the street from me," said Perez. "Every morning I'd always look across the street for his car and this morning I did it again waiting for him to come home."
Coping with the loss of her son has been tough for Terry, but the Marines her son worked with have helped ease the pain. When she first called the base to inform Jordan's shop of the bad news, the willingness of Marines wanting to help was overwhelming. Jordan's mother extends her sincere appreciation to all the Marines who have helped her with the struggle of losing her son, she said.
Although she had to see her son buried, something she hoped would never happen, she was proud of the man and Marine he became. During her son's burial ceremony she was amazed by the Marine burial detail, and the manner the ceremony was executed in deepened her pride.
While her son was alive she always questioned his well-being and what kind of friends he had in Albany. But her worries were laid to rest after meeting Jordan's friends and fellow Marines.
"I just realized that God has answered my prayers, because he was surrounded by people who loved him," said Terry.
One of her concerns was cleaning out her son's apartment. Not only is it a big job, but it was something she didn't want to face. Seeing pictures of him and going through his belongings was a daunting task.
But Marines who worked with Jordan were true to the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis. They were faithful to their friend even through his death, by helping his mother and welcoming her into her extended family - the Marine Corps.
The biggest help she received from the junior Marines who worked with her son, was finding closure, she said.
"It made me feel good," said Terry, referring to the stories she heard about her son. "It gave me some type of closure and it helped me answer some of the questions of how his life was. Listening to them painted the whole picture of Chris for me."
A week has passed since Jordan's death, but his presence is still felt by his friends and peers.
"In morning formations we still save a spot for him," said Perez. "I take the report and when I call his name, I say 'very well' [to acknowledge he is present], because I know he is still here."