Voluntown - Just as it had entered the Voluntown Baptist Church, the flag-draped casket of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler O. Griffin was carefully carried from the small church, accompanied by a musical selection that left witnesses to this solemn occasion in tears.
The New London Firefighters and Mystic Highland pipe bands played "Amazing Grace," before the 400 people who had gathered outside the church to listen to the service.
A small boy took an American flag from a family friend's hands and raised it up as high as he could just as the hearse doors closed.
Griffin, 19, was killed on April 1 during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the Department of Defense. Another Marine, Sgt. Frank J. World, 25, of Buffalo, N.Y., was also killed.
A 2008 graduate of Griswold High, Griffin was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He had been in the service for 18 months and in Afghanistan for 30 days.
Two members of his battalion attended this morning's service.
At his request, Griffin will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, "among the heroes." After leaving the church, Griffin's family received several state dignitaries who had attended the service and were able to sit among them in the small sanctuary before the family escorted the hearse back to the Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home in Griswold.
The family is expected to join hundreds of Voluntown residents, military personnel and friends at Constitution Field this afternoon for a public reception.