Kearny soldier returns safely from front

Photo courtesy Sonia Martins/ Pfc. Marco Marques

By Anthony J. Machcinski

The call to serve your country is something many Americans get; however, the call to serve takes on a different significance when the person who receives that call isn’t a natural born American.

“I came to America when I was seven and it’s a totally different country than Portugal,” said Pvt. First Class Marco Marques. “ You want to fight for your freedom and want people to have a better life.”

Marques, who has been in Afghanistan since his March 28, 2011 deployment, recently returned stateside and will come back to his Kearny residence April 3. Unlike many soldiers, Marques started in the service at a later age, enlisting in the Army at the age of 27.

“He always talked about it,” said Sonia Martins, Marques’ older sister. “Its not like it was an 18-year-old kid after high school, this was when he was 27.”

“I helped my father with the construction company,” Marques said as to why he didn’t enlist right out of high school like many Americans. “The Army was always in the back of my head. I just wanted to see what else was out there. I thought, ‘Let me go explore and see the world and the Army was the best chance for that.’”

The news of Marques’ enlistment was not met with excitement from his mother, who made one last plea to her son to stay home.

“Our mother tried to talk him out of it,” Martins said. “He thought about it for a while, but he finally signed up.”

Despite being stateside, Marques has not seen his mother yet and will not see her until April 3, when she is able to return to the United States from Portugal.

“That’s my life right there,” Marques said. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.”

Now officially on his way home and having served his duty, the Kearny resident has reflected on his time in the service and what’s in store.

“I did my time and my duty,” Marques said. “I wanted to serve. I’m getting too old and I would just like to do something else in the government.”

His time in the service has allowed Martins and the rest of her family to reflect on their son and brother.

“I’m so proud of him,” Martins said. “It’s painful at times when you hear the media about those that don’t make it home, but I’m very proud of him.”

Now home and able to see his family, Marques is able to do one of the things he missed most.

“I just want to have some good, home cooked food,” Marques joked.

It won’t be much longer before he fulfills that wish.

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