The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting
Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Private First Class Michael A. Arciola, 20, of Elmsford, New York, died February 15, 2005, in
Al Ramadi, Iraq, from injuries sustained from enemy small arms fire. Arciola was assigned
to the 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Casey, Korea.
For further information related to this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
Elmsford soldier's body returns home
By JOSEPH AX
Courtesy of the Journal News
24 February 2005
ELMSFORD, New York — As grieving residents watched mutely, a gray hearse carrying the body of 20-year-old Army
Private First Class Michael Arciola slowly made its way down Main Street to a funeral home yesterday evening.
Firefighters in formal uniform bore the flag-draped coffin into the McElroy-Flynn Funeral Home just after 6 p.m.,
bringing full circle a lifelong journey that began in Elmsford with Arciola's childhood dreams of joining the military and
ended in western Iraq last week when he was felled by enemy gunfire.
Friends stood on both sides of the street, hugging each for comfort, as well as for warmth, in the stiff wintry wind.
As the procession passed through two rows of saluting firefighters into the home, only muffled sobs and the distant
whirring of a news helicopter's rotors high above broke the somber silence of the scene.
"He shouldn't have come home this way," Joan Jones, a neighbor and longtime family friend, said as tears ran down her
The sight of the casket was difficult to bear, some said. But they also said the solemn ceremony of the moment served
to remind them that Arciola was killed in service to his country, a hero's death that deserves full honor.
"It's been the worst week of my life," said Frank Longo, 19, who grew up with Arciola in the same neighborhood. "It's
really hard to watch. But it's a beautiful thing to see how this whole community came together."
"When I heard he died, part of me died, too," said Marques Younger, 19, another childhood friend. "It's really hard to
Teresa Arciola, Michael's mother, left the village yesterday morning with Mayor Robert Williams, a number of other
village officials, an Army representative and a contingent of police and fire vehicles to drive to an Air Force base in
Dover, Delaware, where her son's body arrived last Thursday.
Williams said the village would shut down the two center lanes of Main Street, or Route 119, for parking.
The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Church on East Main Street. The length of Main Street from Knollwood Road to Route 9A will be closed to traffic, said
Williams, who added that he expects thousands to attend.
Arciola was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Under a virtually cloudless sky, with row upon row of unadorned, white granite headstones casting shadows across
Arlington National Cemetery, Army Private First Class Michael Arciola was laid to rest yesterday afternoon among a
100 mourners looked on, the honor guard solemnly folded the American
flag that had draped the 20-year-old Elmsford resident's coffin and
presented it, along with his Purple Heart and Bronze Star, to his mother,
Teresa, who accepted it with tearful thanks.
"He deserved to be there," said Arciola's childhood friend and classmate
Stephen Jones. "It's amazing to know that he's there — I guess you could
say a comfort. He died a soldier. He died a hero."
"Michael's now with brave heroes of American history," said Kevin
Budzynski, a family friend and Arciola's former baseball coach. "He's
there with heroes big and small."
Arciola, who graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 2003,
was killed by enemy gunfire on Feb. 15 in Ramadi in western Iraq, the
fourth Westchester County soldier to die in Iraq or Afghanistan. He was
assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade,
2nd Infantry Division, based in South Korea.
The burial came on the first anniversary of the death of 26-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Anthony S. Lagman of Yonkers,
who perished in a firefight with insurgents in Afghanistan.
Since Arciola's death, the small community of Elmsford has lauded the young man for his dedication to military service,
his sunny disposition and his infectious sense of humor.
Dozens of friends and family members joined village officials, firefighters, police officers, teachers and other residents
who made the 260-mile trek to Arlington, where almost 290,000 people, mostly veterans, are buried at the 624-acre
"The thing that amazed me the most was how many people came down here just for Mikey," Jones said. "It just showed
how much he meant to everybody."
The day began with a somber Catholic funeral service at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer on the edge of the
cemetery. Inside the modest white church, grieving friends bowed their heads as Jesus Navarrete, an Army chaplain,
asked God to watch over Arciola in heaven.
Robert Arciola spoke briefly and movingly about his younger brother.
"I could probably stand up here for hours telling you about him," he said, his voice quavering with emotion. "We all have
our own memories, and we all have to be strong and let this make us better people. He loved everybody who's here in
their own special way."
The easygoing Arciola, who friends say was immensely popular in the community, had spoken of joining the military
since childhood, a desire that was only solidified after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The funeral procession, which included nearly 50 vehicles, wound its way from the chapel through the cemetery to
Section 60, where Arciola was buried underneath headstone No. 8105.
Arciola is the 123rd soldier killed in Afghanistan or Iraq to be interred at Arlington. All but one soldier, who is buried
near his father elsewhere in the cemetery, are buried side by side in Section 60.
The endless rows of headstones bespeak an enormous grief, Budzynski said, but they also serve as a reminder of
honor and sacrifice.
"As sad as it is, they're heroes," he said. "Those are the Americans we need to honor."
Navarrete led another prayer at the grave, where the Arciolas — father Robert, mother Teresa, brother Robert and
sisters Casey and Amanda — sat in silence in front of the gathering. A firing party standing at attention 200 feet away
fired three volleys of shots into the air, and a bugler played taps as the echoes faded into the air.
After she received the flag and medals, Teresa Arciola stood and quietly kissed the top of the coffin.
After the service, the mourners waited in line to say their final goodbyes, some speaking softly with a hand on the
casket while others bent and touched their lips to the coffin.
"The Arciola family should be proud of their son Michael," said Elmsford Trustee William Zimkin, who attended the
burial. "And I am very proud of the Elmsford community, the way they supported the Arciola family."
Small N.Y. Town Buries a Favorite Son at Arlington
Young Soldier Who Wore No. 13 as an Athlete Is Remembered as a Leader
By Lila de Tantillo
Curtesy of the Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 19, 2005
On February 15, 2005, Army Private First Class Michael Anthony Arciola, 20, of Elmsford, New York, was shot and
killed by insurgents in Al Ramadi, Iraq.
Within hours of his death, the village of Elmsford -- one mile square and home to 4,600 residents -- went into mourning
as news spread that it had lost a native son. The soldier's face was on the front page of local papers for several days
running; the mayor, Robert Williams, paid a visit to the Arciola famil
Olguin, a wounded
soldier who served with his son in Iraq, during Michael Arciola's funeral
National Cemetery on March 18, 2005. Fallen soldier Michael Arciola
received a Purple
Heart, a Bronze Star, a Good Conduct Medal and a Combat Infantry Award.
Robert Arciola, the brother of the deceased, and his fiance, Allie Kovach,
are pictured to the left.
MA Arciola Funeral Services PHOTO
Monsignor Keith Dayton gives Teresa Arciola
the flag that covered the coffin of her
son Michael Arciola during his funeral at
Arlington National Cemetery on March 18, 2005.
Her children Amanda, Casey and Robert Arciola
are seated beside her.
MA Arciola Funeral Services PHOTO
From left, the family of fallen soldier Michael
Arciola, including his mother, Teresa, his sisters,
Amanda and Casey, his brother, Robert, his
brother's fiance, Allie Kovach, and his father,
Robert Arciola, sit beside the coffin during the
funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on March 18,
2005. Casey Arciola smiled at her brother when he
returned to his seat after saying his final farewell
and placing earth on the coffin
Robert Arciola of Elmsford
picks up a handful of earth
that he then placed on the
coffin of his brother Michael
Arciola during his funeral at
Cemetery on March 18, 2005
From front left, Amanda and Casey Arciola
say farewell to their brother, fallen soldier
Michael Arciola, during his funeral at
Arlington National Cemetery on March 18,
Robert Arciola, father of
Michael Arciola embraces the
flag that was on his son's
casket during funeral
services, Friday, March 18,
2005 at Arlington National