MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (AP) -- With a 21-gun salute and a melancholy performance of "Taps," Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Nice was honored Friday for his service and sacrifice as a Marine in Iraq.
Nice, 19, a fourth generation veteran, was buried in Midwest City next to his great grandfather. Nice was killed Aug. 4 by enemy fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
His father, Lloyd Nice III, of Newark, Ohio, who served in the Army, said Nice is the only one who didn't come back.
"I can't help but think that his death was for a good cause," said Scott Oglesby, Nice's soccer coach at Choctaw High School. "He gave his life for his country."
Oglesby was one of several friends who spoke during ceremony, which drew more than 100 people, at the First Baptist Church of Choctaw.
Cody Largent, a fellow band member and soccer teammate, said Nice dreamed of becoming a lawyer so that he could help his friends get out of trouble in the future.
"If you had a problem, he was always there for you," Largent said. "Joe was very brave, and I'm proud that he was my best friend."
Nice, who was born in Newark, Ohio, before moving to Oklahoma to live with his grandmother Mary Sneed in Nicoma Park, was a member of his high school soccer team and played the saxophone in the marching band at Choctaw High School.
Since he was about 5 years old, Nice wanted to be a Marine, his father said. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in December 2002 and left for boot camp in San Diego in June 2003.
Nice was deployed to Iraq in February and likely would have returned to the United States in September with his unit, the Twentynine Palms, Calif.-based 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.
Nice's mother, Marilyn Nice, lives in Prague. Two brothers and three sisters also live in Oklahoma, and two half-sisters from his father's second marriage live in Ohio.
Nice was awarded the National Defense Service Medal for serving in the military while the country was at war; the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon for serving overseas; and the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for serving in the war on terrorism.