Johnson City

Memorial planned to honor fallen Marine

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Friends and family will gather this weekend to honor a Marine who died in the line of duty.

Sgt. Mike Speer was killed by sniper fire outside Fallujah during his second deployment to Iraq in 2004.

Speer's fellow Marines, who organized the event, say they get together every year to honor him. On this tentth anniversary of his death, they also wanted to include his family. 

They have flown in his parents and sister from Kansas. "We wanted the family to know that he's not forgotten," said event organizer and former Marine Aaron Magnuson. "He was special to us then and he still is today.  He'll never be forgotten. Everything he did for us, for a family to have a son give his life for us, he'll never be forgotten."

The Marines will be leaving the Meadowview Convention Center at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow and heading to the V.A. Cemetery in Johnson City for a memorial service at noon.

At 5 p.m. there will be a dinner and an Elvis tribute artist at Conley's Overlook in Colonial Heights in Kingsport.

The event will also include a silent auction. The cost is $10 at the door.

Any money leftover will be used to buy a memorial brick for Speer at the National Marine Corps Museum.

His fellow Marines say they are honored to do this for him. "You instantly liked the guy," said Magnuson. "Not only was he a great Marine, all the Marines in his united called him Papa -- he was a little older, everybody either respected him, or liked him, or both."

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