Classmates hold memorial for fallen New Braunfels Marine
Sgt. Thomas Spitzer, 23, killed in Afghanistan
NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – One week after he was killed conducting combat operations in Afghanistan, fellow Canyon High School class of 2009, graduates held a memorial at Cougar Stadium to honor Sgt. Thomas Spitzer.
Known for his signature grin, the 23-year-old was killed during his second deployment.
"The main thing I remember about him was just always his smile. He was always smiling. It would light up the room," said classmate, Haley Reynolds. "It seemed like he was everyone's friend."
Spitzer enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 2009.
"I remember him saying his biggest fear was what would happen when his five years was up," recalled Reynolds. "He just loved the Marines so much."
Those who attended the memorial service Wednesday evening were asked to dress in Cougar High colors red and black.
The crowd sat in the stands and listened to people share stories and memories of Spitzer in front of the same field where he played high school football not so many years before.
A tragic sense of déjà vu spread with the news of Spitzer's death.
Nearly three years ago to the day - on June 28, 2011 - fellow Canyon High alum Marine, Lance Corporal John Farias, was also killed in Afghanistan.
"She texted us and said she had horrible news and that it had happened again and that Thomas had died," Tara Key said, remembering how she found out the news from a friend. "And I just started crying."
"How could this be happening again? I feel like it just happened," Reynolds said.
Wristbands and t-shirts were sold at the memorial to raise money to place a memorial for Spitzer at Canyon High where one already sits for Farias.
"You never expect to hear the news," said Reynolds. "It just shows you how short life is."
Spitzer leaves behind a fiancé.
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