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Jose Garibay was not even a citizen when he lost his life...

October 15, 2003

Jose Garibay was not even a citizen when he lost his life in the

service of his country on March 23.

The 21-year-old Newport Harbor High graduate was among seven

Marines killed in an ambush in Iraq. He was the first from Orange

County to die in the war.

Garibay, a corporal in the Corps, came to the United States when

he was 2 months old from Jalisco, Mexico. He grew up in Costa Mesa

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and attended Whittier Elementary, Ensign Intermediate School and

played football at Newport Harbor.

His death touched a community that recognized his commitment to

his adopted country.

That recognition went far beyond Newport-Mesa's borders. Days

after his death, Garibay was honored on the floor of the House of

Representatives by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

And then in April, Garibay was given an honor he hadn't received

in life: citizenship.

It was a fitting final gift.

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