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Wedding dreams burned to ashes

Annadale bride-to-be loses her Marine to a roadside bomb in Iraq
Saturday, October 07, 2006

Jessica Gurdemir of Annadale had bought her wedding gown.

Oct. 25, the tentative date of her fiance's return from Iraq, was circled on the Gurdemir family calendar.

But cruel fate has intervened: Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove III, 23, a few weeks shy of returning to his Staten Island bride-to-be, was killed Sunday by a suicide car bomb detonated at an east Fallujah roadway checkpoint.

"My heart is broken," Ms. Gurdemir said last night.

She met her late fiance two years ago at a restaurant in Madison, N.J., where she was a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He, a resident of Cedar Knolls, N.J., was celebrating his 21st birthday and his graduation from boot camp.

It was the summer before Cosgrove's senior year at Monmouth University, where he completed his degree in history in 2005. It was the summer that he enlisted and also fell in love.

A year ago this month, the couple had gone pumpkin-picking together and ended their date by carving their selection. Cosgrove had hidden an engagement ring inside.

But before the wedding they had scheduled for August 2007, the soldier -- he'd planned to join the military since he was a teen-ager -- was to complete his tour of duty.

The reservist had not been scheduled to go to Iraq with G Company of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, based at Picatinny Arsenal, but was deployed with another unit, which needed soldiers.

In April, he arrived in Fallujah, in volatile, Sunni-dominated Anbar province with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion.

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Copyright 2006 The Staten Island Advance. Used with permission.
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