Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford

30, of Decatur, Illinois.
Killed in action during operations on the outskirts of An Nasiriyah, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Died on March 23, 2003.

A Soldier's Pride

I have never been a soldier
Although I have thought

What it was like
In the wars they have fought

There must have been fear
There must have been hate

When they drew their weapons
And answered their fate

How proud they must be
Of the land where they live

They would offer their service
Their own blood they would give

I know a young man
That did these things

Now from heaven
His happy heart sings

He fought for the freedom
Of others abroad

Now his head rests
In the arms of God

Pvt. John Gifford
I am proud of you

You gave the world grace
And now heaven too!

Thank You John

© 2003 Brian Eybel

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"Jon, you are still a hero. Still thanking you for your service and giving all for a country that is still free."

"Just wanted to let you know that you are not forgotten Jon. THANK YOU"
Clint of Decatur, IL, 62521

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"January 17, 2009
To the family of Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford:
Jonathan gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Still think about you Gifford. Know you will never be forgotten. This is Capt Nelson, formerly Sgt Nelson, your old Platoon Sergeant from Pax River. Never forget the day when I found out. Hope your family is doing well these days and your daughter is growing up knowing her Daddy was a hero.

Jeremy M. Nelson"
Capt Nelson of Fort-Worth, TX

"your son sounds like an amazing man and i offer my condoloence im deeply troubled by your loss and i think the war should stop"
jared swanton of winthrop maine

"May 28, 2007 (Memorial Day)
To the family of Jonathan L. Gifford. Jonathan gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I loved him like a Brother. He was my in my platoon (3030) in bootcamp. He was respected by all who served with him and he will never be forgotten!"
Cpl Todd L. Truesdell of Dallas, Tx

"TO the parents of pvt Gifford

I met your son while at PAX. He was very motiveated and a great friend. Dubiel and I remmber jon everytime we hang out in PA. He is surely missed. Rest in peace my friend and brother.
LCPL Sparrow USMC"
PV2 Sparrow of cuba

I would like to say thank you to you and the other Marines from 2nd MEB who were killed that day in An Nasiriyah for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"I have visited this page many times, thinking about how close in age we were (I am 31 at the time of this writing), and how much respect I have for this young man's courage. Many times I have contemplated military service, as there are/were several armed services members in my family. While I enjoyed the benefits of living in this country and an executive job/lifestyle, Jonathan L. Gifford was doing what I'll probably always regret not doing – honoring his responsibilities as a citizen of the United States. Truly, that responsibility is one we bear, regardless of our feelings about this war or our government. This young man gave more than I could ever imagine serving that ideal – the American ideal – and it humbles me to think of his bravery. His family is in my prayers, although I do not have the priviledge of knowing them.

With deepest respect and gratitude,

Jonathan D. Gifford"
Jonathan Gifford of Philadelphia, PA

"My name is Cameron Schilling and I have started “Portrait of a Soldier” which donates a portrait sketch of every Illinois soldier who has fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan. All 122 sketches will be on display for a Memorial Day Presentation in Chicago, Illinois on May 26-31 at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. After the ceremony the sketches will be given to the immediate families of the Illinois soldiers. I would invite any friends or family members to come and honor these men and women from Illinois who have given their lives to our country. For more information please contact OperationHomeFront.org at 866-417-8889 which is an organization headed by the Lt. Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who is in charge of the Memorial Day Presentation. Thank You.

Please check out www.portraitofasoldier.org
To contact Cameron email cameronschilling84@hotmail.com
To contact Operation Home Front call 866-417-8889"
Cameron Schilling of Charleston, Illinois

"My name is Cameron Schilling. I am a college student from central Illinois. I am the first generation of my family not to serve his country. I am extremely grateful for the sacrifice you and your loved one has given for the United States. I am disappointed by the way the news media has covered this war and the deaths of our youth. The media has stopped listing the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq and people only talk about the soldiers when we reach a specific milestone in deaths. If you just started watching the news today you would not even know there is a war going on. Partisan politics have replaced coverage of our young generation who have traveled to a foreign land in the name of the United States. Whether you believe the war in Iraq is wrong, right, justified or not everyone should pay even just a little more attention to what these young men and women are sacrificing. This is what I would like to do. I want to do my part in honoring these soldiers and their memories. Along with being a college student I am also a budding artist. I draw pencil portraits of local people in my community. I want to offer a pencil portrait sketch to the immediate family of every Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Please contact me at cameronschilling84@hotmail.com."
Cameron of Illinois

"John I only got to meet you once or twice but was a wonderful time, we got to shoot pool together with your Dad who I have known for a long time. I had not met someone so saddened yet ever so proud of his son. Your family and friends shall never forget the great moments that were spent together.
RIP our Hero and Marine"
D. Brown of Decatur Ill.

"To the Family of Pfc Gifford:
We have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 7/12/05, 112 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Jonathan's name on one of them.
We have called our display "Arlington Midwest" and it is located in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email me at ArlingtonMidwest@yahoo.com.

We invite you to visit Arlington Midwest. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them."
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

"I was stationed with Gifford at MCSF CO. I wasn't in the same platoon, but we hung out a few times. He was a great guy and is truly missed"
Cpl Fletcher of Camp Lejeune

"My heart, prayers and deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Jonathan. I went to high school here in Decatur, IL. with him and though I never knew him personally, I will always look upon him as a hero. The news of his passing was an enormous shock, although each and every passing of our men and women has taken a piece of my heart.Thank you Jonathan for serving proudly to protect us all. May God keep you eternally safe in his arms!"
Christa M. Lowe-Hawkins of Decatur, IL

"Jon, it has been what seems like forever since that dreadful night we all got the news. After sitting by the t.v. night after night and waiting to hear something, anything to tell us something. The waiting was the hardest part. Knowing that you didn't suffer puts such a rest in my heart. I remember asking you once over at John's house if you were scared to join at that time with the talk of war getting started and your reply to me was "naw". I hope that was true and you wern't scared. May god be with your resting soul, and may the future be a better place because of you and all others who have given so much for the safety of our country and those in Iraq. I think of all the times we got to spend together and I regret that we hadn't gotten to spend more time together. Too late for that now cous......love you. We'll always miss you and have you in our hearts."
Brandy of Decatur, IL

"To the friends and family of Jonathan L. Gifford:
May it bring you some comfort to know that so many grieve with you. My husband was KIA in June of 2004. These men will never be forgoten and will continue to live on forever in our hearts. I am so thankful for these brave soldiers who protect our country and freedom every day. Thank you for your sacrifice. I pray for all the fallen soldiers families every day!"
Sarah Linden of Portland, OR USA

"God Bless All the Heroes who have fallen for our country"
debra lowe of divernon, IL USA

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"I cannot say I know what your going through but I can say sorry for your loss and thank you for raising a son that fought willingly for our country, and died just trying to make the world a better place with all his love and heart."
7th grde student of Barker Middle Schoole

"To John's family, I went to MCSFco with him and i want to give my deepest sympathies and well wishes. He was good friend and a great Marine."
h.j. Fontanills Lcpl USMC of williamsburg,VA

"We as Americans are blessed to have so many men and women willing to fight in our honor....God Bless Jonathons' family as well as the other men and women who have lost their lives, and those still fighting..NONE of you will EVER be forgotten...in the eyes of your families or ours....God Bless ALL of you!"
P.A. of Hometown...Decatur

"To Remember Them..In loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Giff This is your roomate from Pax We had lots of talks, About life and the Corps. You always told the truth no matter what you thought it would lead too I will always respect you for that. You are most certainly missed. I will never forget you brother. I will always remember the conversations we had while serving our country. Rest well my friend you deserve it. Your brother forever,

Travis Fleetwood USMC of Greensboro, NC

"We Will NEVER FORGET !" As the first anniversary of the death of your loved one arrives;
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering all your family and loved ones in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Jonathan, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Private Gifford, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Jonathan L. Gifford was a hero in the truest sense. His sacrifice will never be forgotten. God bless and comfort his family and friends. Decatur, Illinois, Jonathan's home town, honored him with a funeral turnout like none any of us had ever seen before, and he well deserved the respect he was given. Semper Fi."
Barb Disney of Bethany, Illinois

"May you find comfort in knowing how many Americans share in your sadness and loss.. Jonathan is a TRUE HERO! Prayers and Condolences to his loved ones.
Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom..We will never forget!! Semper Fi!!"
The Grogan Family (USMC) of Lakeland, TN

"Tim and Vickie my heart and prayers are with you and his family. Thank God for soldiers like your son Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford. I read the other messages and they are so encouraging. People care. May God bless you and strengthen you during this time and always. Jann"
Jann Israel of Armington, IL USA

"Thank you Jonathan Gifford, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios


"To the Family and Friends of Pvt. John Gifford,
Though your son isn't physically here with us, the evidence of his bravery will continually be felt by those of us who understand that freedom isn't free. May the fond memories you have of John be a source of comfort and strength to you at this time. As for me and my household, we salute Pvt. John Gifford - A TRUE HERO!"
Sibert Family of Redondo Beach, California

"Johnny ~ We miss you yet we are so proud. You had the most memorable funeral I have, or will ever witness. You have shown the meaning of "Giving your life to save another." ......every time I look at our National Flag, your the first thought that comes to mind."
rdr of IL

"May you rest in peace, and may God comfort and give peace to your family. You have given your life for our freedom, and for the freedom of the oppressed."
M.L.Z. of Illinois

"Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave soldier, your courage and sacrifice will nerver be forgotten."
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Jonathan Gifford:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Jonathan for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Jonathan Gifford:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Jonathan, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

I am a marine wife whose husband is currently deployed also...I hate saying sorry for your loss because it won't bring you back to your loved ones. What I will say is...THANK YOU FOR THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE!
Erika Mccosar(Ssgt USMC wife) of MCAS Yuma, Az

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on