A public wake was held Monday for Capt. Ross Reynolds, a 27-year-old Marine and native of Leominster who was one of four soldiers killed last month in a NATO training exercise in Norway.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker joined family, friends, fellow veterans and public servants to bid a final goodbye to Reynolds Monday afternoon.
"It was touching and emotional. Lots of pride, but definitely a celebration of life," noted Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella.
Captain Reynolds will be laid to rest at a funeral service Tuesday.
"He’s had impact as someone as a great family member, as a friend, as a marine, as anyone who knew him loved him. And I think it’s important here to not only remember ross for the person that he was, and still is to all of us, but also how we can carry on his memory," said Jonathan Pover, a college friend of Reynolds.
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"I did mention to him how my father was in the Marine Corps so he was very intrigued by that. You know, everything I read about him being an Eagle Scout and the things that he's done just for our community has just been really nice to hear," she said.
Hundreds turned out for a vigil Sunday night at Leominster City Hall. Candles and flags were held as the Leominster community mourned the loss of the fallen Marine officer.
Reynolds, who just got married in February, was an Eagle Scout who graduated from Leominster High School and Worcester State University. The 27-year-old Osprey pilot, who joined the Marines in 2017, was one of four Marines killed when their aircraft crashed March 18 during a NATO drill in a Norwegian town in the Arctic Circle.
His widow, Lana Reynolds, spoke of their wedding and his passion for flying at the vigil over the weekend.
"We got married in basically a hallway, and it was the most precious moment of my life,” she said Sunday. "He's not resting in peace, he's flying in peace."
Vietnam War Veteran Army Captain Alan Swartz, who sang for the family during Sunday's vigil, also shares a connection with Reynolds.
"Being a veteran myself, I feel a kinship. I think all veterans feel a kinship to anyone, and especially under the conditions that he went through unfortunately, and a life obviously cut way too short," Swartz said Monday.
On Saturday, Reynolds' body was taken from Logan Airport to Leominster in a 50-mile procession to the city. Residents of the town, many of them former service members, stood on the sides of Leominster's streets to pay their respects.
The funeral Mass will be held at St. Cecilia's Church on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The burial at the Massachusetts Memorial Veterans' Cemetery in Winchendon will be private.