Marine Cpl. Nicolas Parada-Rodriguez is memorialized at Arlington National Cemetery

Shada Parada-Rodriguez, center, mourns at her husband Marine Cpl. Nicolas Parada-Rodriguez's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
Shada Parada-Rodriguez, center, mourns at her husband Marine Cpl. Nicolas Parada-Rodriguez's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. (Ricky Carioti/the Washington Post)
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By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 28, 2010

The U.S. Marines fired three rifle volleys. A bugler played taps.

Luisa Parada-Rodriguez placed a heavy hand on the American flag presented to her by Sgt. Maj. Eric J. Stockton on Thursday. When her son Lisandro accepted another flag from Stockton, she grabbed his hand and held on.

Her younger son and Lisandro's brother, Marine Cpl. Nicolas D. Parada-Rodriguez, 29, was being buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

About 150 friends and family members took part in the last burial in Section 60 on Thursday before soldiers began placing flags on every grave in honor of Memorial Day.

Parada-Rodriguez, of Stafford, died May 16 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon said. It was his second tour in Afghanistan with the Marines.

He was a team leader assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Before joining the Marines, Parada-Rodriguez was in the Navy, his sister Norma said in an article published in the Washington Post on May 19. He briefly held a civilian job before joining the Marines in January 2007, she said.

"He said he just liked defending his country," she said in the earlier interview. "He wanted to do something that people would remember him for."

His family described him as bighearted, family-oriented and always striving to be a leader.

Guy Krikorian and his wife, both of Southern California, flew across the country to attend Parada-Rodriguez's service and to show their appreciation to his family. The parents of one of his friends, they wanted to let the corporal's family know "how much he meant to us and how sorry we are and we appreciate what he was doing for us," Krikorian said.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Krikorian, Krikorian's son, was transferred to Camp Lejeune, where Parada-Rodriguez helped him with the transition into a new base. In Afghanistan, Parada-Rodriguez served as the younger Krikorian's team leader.

"We looked at it from the standpoint of his family and what he meant to Andy," Krikorian said. "It would mean the world if somebody would be able to express something about our son" in a similar situation, he said.

The Krikorian family was able to meet Parada-Rodriguez one night last summer when he visited their home, and they found him to be a "very nice man" who could enjoy a good laugh, Krikorian said.

Parada-Rodriguez and his family moved to the United States from El Salvador when he was a child. They settled in Springfield, where Parada-Rodriguez graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1999.

In addition to his mother, sister and brother, survivors include his wife, Shada; another sister, Maria; and several nieces and nephews.

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