Editor's note: This column was originally published in the Star-Telegram on April 22, 2003.Everybody on the north side knows a Medellin.Almost everybody knew Marty Medellin, the proud young Marine corporal determined to serve his country.So everybody turned out Saturday to see his coffin lowered into a freshly dug grave on a north side hill.Dozens of Medellin brothers, cousins and relatives are spread across two schools, two churches and -- like many big families -- both sides of the law.Marty Medellin was on the right side.From sixth grade on, he wanted to be a Marine, like America's heroes in Operation Desert Storm. He enlisted before he graduated from his suburban high school.An Iraqi artillery round killed him April 7.Now, he will forever be on the right side.As a former pastor said at a Friday night prayer service, Medellin is now "cruising down streets of gold."He's the only local serviceman killed in Iraq.Twelve years ago, Marine Capt. Chip Herr was the only local son we lost in Operation Desert Storm. Marty Medellin was 9.On a steamy springtime afternoon, hundreds of family members and friends squeezed into a small church on West Exchange Avenue to tell Medellin goodbye.A homemade poster on one wall gave only his name and title: "United States Marine." The lettering was in blue and gold glitter -- the Boswell High School colors.On another poster, friends signed farewells. "My hero!" Amanda Cruz wrote. "Thanks for saving us."A note signed only "the Robles family" read, "Thanks for saving the Iraqis."The former pastor at the tiny Baptist Church of the Open Door, Paul Danielson of Saginaw, gave a eulogy that left no doubt about Medellin's mission."I don't care if we find a weapon of mass destruction," he preached. "Marty died to make sure the people of Iraq are free!"The church's two working ceiling fans turned sluggishly overhead as the crowd shouted, "Amen!"Simona Sifuentes, an aunt, told how Medellin was also on the right side of faith.Before he left for Iraq, she had told him that this was the time to profess Christianity. Weeks later, she opened his first letter: "Tia," -- aunt -- "as soon as I got on that airplane, I couldn't think about anything else."That was not his only wise decision.Before he left, he also bought life insurance that will benefit his mother, Mary Medellin, a family friend said. He also started a college fund for one of his little brothers, Simon, 11.That fund will have help. Some Fort Worth business executives have started a bank account to raise money for the Medellins' college education.The fund can also help Medellin's other little brother, John, if he chooses college.Their parents, Freddy and Mary Medellin, have been incredibly strong. At their home, at the services and even at their son's grave, Freddy Medellin has proudly and patiently answered reporters' questions.In English and Spanish, he has told local and national TV audiences night after night how proud he is of Marty and how proud Marty was to serve America.Marty Medellin's name is the latest on the long list of north Fort Worth's war heroes.Maj. Horace Carswell, a World War II hero and namesake of the local air base, grew up off Northside Drive. Another north-side family, the Boydstuns, lost three sons in the same war.The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington -- "The Wall" -- includes the names of 212 young men from Tarrant County killed between 1965 and 1972.The list includes north-side sons lost in the war, kids with names such as Robledo and Villanueva and Villasenor.Now everybody in America knows Marty Medellin's name.