Family of fallen Marine remembers him 15 years after his death

Family holds memorial for fallen Marine

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Fifteen years have passed since Robert Zurheide lost his son to the war in Iraq.

But those years still feel like it was yesterday, when he thinks about the day he received the news.

"When they knocked on the door for the first time it was the worst day of my life.” said Zurheide.

Lance Cpl. Robert P. Zurheide Jr. died while on his second deployment to Iraq. He was a rifleman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division.

Zurheide joined the Marine Corps on Oct. 9, 2001. His personal awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon.

Robbie, as friends and family called him, would never make it back home from that second deployment. He was killed in hostile fire in Al Anbar province in western Iraq, according to the Defense Department. Al Anbar province is the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force’s area of responsibility.

His memory however, continues to live on through his son, Robert Zurheide the third.

"He looks and acts like him.” said his grandfather.

Someone else chooses to remember Robbie on a yearly basis. Former President George W. Bush.

Zurheide said they first met the president after Robbie died. Since then, Bush has sent a birthday card for Robbie and a Christmas card every year.

Former President Bush even made sure to send a special note on Friday, reading in part quote:

“I know you miss him as much as ever. I wish that we were there, and I wish there were something I could do to heal your hearts.”

Letter from President George W. Bush to Marine's family (Source: KOLD News 13)
Letter from President George W. Bush to Marine's family (Source: KOLD News 13)

A piece of the family’s heart will always be missing, but the memories of Robbie will stay with them for a lifetime.

"He loved his county. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do.” said Zurheide.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.