Residents Honor Fallen Madera Soldier

Madera, Calif. A long procession wound through central Madera. While hundreds followed the hearse, dozens more lined the streets and people waited in front of Saint Joachim for the body of Sergeant Raul Moncada to arrive.

Strangers were moved by the grand show of support. "I think it is a welcome to the family to know their son paid the ultimate price," said Bill Jones with the V.F.W.

Sergeant Moncada died on April 13 in Iraq when an explosive detonated near his vehicle. An airplane returned his body to California last week.

Friends said this arrival proved to be an especially tough moment for his family. "With the family he is really loving and caring person. He really loved his family," said family friend Brittany Gutierrez.

At a graveside ceremony on Monday, the sergeant's daughter paid a special tribute and a military honor guard removed the American flag draped on the sergeant's coffin. Military officers presented the symbol of his sacrifice to his family.

The fallen sergeant leaves behind a daughter and wife. He was expected his second child to be born this summer.

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