Grief strikes Queens family as G.I. falls in Iraq
Tuesday, September 18, 2007, 4:00 AM
The sound of mournful hymns and whispered prayers for another young New York soldier filled a Queens home last night.
The outpouring of grief was for Spc. Jonathan Rivadeneira, 22, from Jackson Heights, who was killed Friday with three comrades when a roadside bomb ripped apart their vehicle during a combat operation in Baghdad.
Rivadeneira, Staff Sgt. Terry Wagoner, 28; Spc. Todd Motley, 23; and Pvt. Christopher McCloud, 24, were with Fort Hood's 1st Cavalry Division's 6th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat.
Rivadeneira's heartbroken mom, Martha Clark, last night joined about two dozen other relatives of soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq to pray for the soul of her only child.
"I prayed when he joined the Army four years ago, too, but he still went," the mom said, wiping tears from her eyes.
"I was against it. I told him think about it because there's a war going on in Iraq."
When he came home on leave recently, she said her son told her, "I don't want to go back, but I have no choice. I feel like I'm not prepared for more of this."
"I told him nobody is prepared to kill or die, but he was depressed. He couldn't wait to take off his uniform. All he saw was injured soldiers and death."
The mother said her son enlisted at 18 right after graduating from St. Joan of Arc School because he thought the service would be a pathway to a college education and perhaps a career in medicine.
He was serving as a medic and was just two months short of the end of his tour when he was killed, she said.
The mom said her son fell in love while in boot camp and got married two years ago. His wife, Heather, will come to New York from Chicago next week for his funeral.