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“He was daddy’s hero; now he’s everyone’s hero.”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 20, 2008 10:13 PM

This fallen hero deserves his nation’s thanks, praise, and eternal remembrance (hat tip – reader Lynne):

He gave his dad a hero and his country his life.

On Sunday, Marine Cpl. Justin Cooper of Eupora was killed in combat in Afghanistan.

Cooper’s father, Alan Cooper, said he was told by Marine officials who visited his home Sunday night that the 22-year-old died after he was shot in the chest, just above his body armor, during a fire fight.

“I never knew so many people could break down and cry over the phone when you tell them something like that,” Alan Cooper said as he tried not to sob.

“He had more friends than anyone I know. He was daddy’s hero; now he’s everyone’s hero.”

Being a Marine was something Cooper had always dreamed about, his father said.

After he graduated from Eupora High School in 2004, Justin Cooper attended Holmes Community College for one semester before enlisting in the Marines. It was Christmas Eve when he told his father he was going to be a Marine.

“I remember telling him he needed to have a lot of thought before doing this. He felt his country needed him at the time more than he needed school,” Alan Cooper said.

He served two tours in Iraq, rising quickly through the ranks. Alan Cooper said he was told his son was one of the best scout snipers the Marines had seen in decades.

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