SOUTH OGDEN — The family of Cpl. Raphael Arruda made it clear they wanted those attending his funeral on Saturday not only to remember how he died, but more importantly, how he lived.
Arruda, 21, was killed in action in the Bar Kunar District, Afghanistan, on July 16 when the vehicle he rode in as truck commander hit an improvised explosive device.
He was an Army Reservist with the 744th Engineering Company, 2nd Platoon, of Ogden, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
Hundreds attended the services for Arruda, from friends and family to fellow members of the military and Patriot Guard Riders. Gov. Gary Herbert was also in attendance.
Arruda was born in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, and came to the United States in 2001 with his family, eventually settling in Utah.
He joined the Army Reserves shortly after graduating from Bonneville High School in 2008.
“That right there speaks volumes about his character,” said Army Gen. Mike Devine, commanding general of the 301st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade near Seattle.
“Less than 1 percent of all Americans will ever put on a uniform. And he was a combat engineer. That’s one of the most dangerous jobs in the military.”
Arruda’s older brother, cousin, mother and father all spoke at the funeral. All of them noted how much Arruda enjoyed his time and how proud he was to be a soldier.
“He considered it an obligation to serve the United States because he was a foreign citizen,” said cousin Paulo Arruda De Souza.
“And he loved it. It’s a comfort to us that he died doing what he loved and that he was happy. He was selfless and put everybody ahead of him.”
Arruda’s mother, Carmem Tercia Possche, told the congregation to remember her son for the kind of person he was, not for his tragic death.
“I am so proud of him, and it was wonderful to have him as a son,” she said. “Don’t be sad. Say, ‘I miss Raphael,’ but remember his smile and his laugh.”
Sergio Macedo Arruda De Souza, Arruda’s older brother, still lives in Brazil and flew in for the funeral. He said in death and in life, his younger brother set an example of how to serve others.
“His family will continue his legacy,” he said. “Whether it’s through community service, the military or just helping people, we will continue to serve like he did.”
Arruda was laid to rest at Lindquist’s Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd.
Arruda was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and was granted posthumous citizenship.