Community Celebrates Jennings Soldier's First Birthday in Heaven

March 24, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

It's amazing how many lives one person can touch. In his short time on Earth, Corporal Marcus Cain touched a lot of lives. "If he had to become a man at 21... If it wasn't with me, who better to celebrate it with than Jesus," said Bennie Cain.

The youngest of Bennie Cain's five children and one of four to enlist in the armed forces, young Marcus' life was tragically cut short by a suicide bomber back in September. To celebrate his first birthday in heaven, Marcus' family invited those who helped them through their grief.

"It's just in remembrance of him for all that he did for our country," said Marcus' friend Caleb Allen.

"It's overwhelming that they remember him so vividly and so well. It's like everybody is really happy. Everybody is happy -- so this is a healing for me," said Bennie.

It is healing for the close-knit community of Jennings and the loss of a son they affectionately called "Duggie."

"It is happy to remember how he was. He was always making people laugh. So this is the best way to celebrate his birthday by having everyone have fun. And if he were here, he would like this," said childhood friend Britney LeBlanc.

Bennie admits "Duggie" was a child at heart. The big kid would have definitely enjoyed Saturday's celebration. From horseback riding, to a jumping gym -- every smile was a reminder of the hometown hero.

"He was like my brother. He wasn't really like an uncle to me. I would just call him by his nickname... And say Duggie, Duggie," recalled Marcus' niece Jayden Thibodeaux.

"I looked up to him in the community, he always had me smiling and laughing... I was one of the younger kids in the neighborhood and he was like a big brother figure to me. When my brother went off to college -- he was there for me," said childhood friend Eric Arceneaux.

Though he died paying the ultimate sacrifice for his country, Bennie says her son's spirit is still very much alive by each person who remembers. "He's here today... He is here today."

Cpl. Marcus Cain's birtday was actually on Thursday, March 22nd. His family plans to celebrate his life each year with a fun day for the community. Bennie Cain also says she's already working to have a scholarship set up in her son's name.