Lance Corporal Antoine Demetrius Smith died 15 November 2004 during the battle to take Fallujah in Iraq. I never met Antoine Smith or “Toine” as his mother referred to him, but I felt I knew him through the stories and photos his mother shared with me on a regular basis. Toine’s mother frequented the library where I worked and we often spoke of her beloved son.
To say Deborah Ann Smith was proud of her son, is a gross understatement! Not only had he earned the right to be called a United States Marine, but he was an accomplished violist, and most important to his mother – a devout Christian – having been dedicated to God by his mother when he was only two weeks old. In his passing, Lance Corporal Antoine Demetrius Smith added another accomplishment – he was awarded the Purple Heart for upholding God’s command to love as He loves by “laying down his life for his friends.” – John 15:12-13
Toine’s mother created a beautiful tribute to his life for his memorial. Please click on the pages below to learn about this amazing young man.
In November 2004, Dr. Phillips High School learned that former student Antoine Smith was killed in Iraq. Antoine had been a violist in the DPHS orchestra. He was sent to Iraq and fatally wounded during the battle to take Fallujah. Orchestra teacher, Jennifer Erickson composed a tribute titled “To Serve With Honor” for string orchestra and solo viola in honor of Anotine’s service. In March 2005, the South Florida Youth Orchestra, directed by Thomas Sleeper performed the piece on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The Fox News network recorded the performance and used a portion in the documentary entitled, “Company of Heroes,” about the taking of Fallajah which aired on national television in May 2008. In addition to featuring a portion of the orchestral work, the documentary includes an interview with Antoine’s mother and photos of Antoine.
Memorials were made to DPHS Orchestra for the purchase of a viola to be used by students who otherwise would not be able to afford to purchase an instrument. At the Dr. Phillips High School Orchestra Fall Concert in 2006, “To Serve With Honor” was performed and those making contributions were recognized: Deborah Smith, DPHS Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Dr. Frances Jones, Kim Marie Peters, DPHS Latin Club, and Reginald Williams, President of Williams Gengakki Violins. Read about the composition, the viola purchased in Antoine’s name and the performance in 2006 by clicking on the links below.
On Saturday, May 27, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.at the First Baptist Church Orlando, a life size bronze bust of Antoine Demetrius Smith will be presented to his mother Deborah Ann Smith by Operation Never Forget. The bust will be on display in the sanctuary for all services on Sunday, May 28, 2017, where seating will be reserved for military and guests of Antoine’s mother who is a long time member of the congregation at First Baptist Church Orlando as was her son.
Antoine’s mother Deborah posted ten photos to tell the story of Antoine’s time in the Marines in chronological order.
1. Antoine with his Drill Sargent at Paris Island, South Carolina.
2. Antoine home on leave in Orlando from boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina. Deborah said you can see that he had lost weight at boot camp by the way his uniform is so big on him.
3. Antoine and his mother Deborah waiting for the bus at First Baptist Church Orlando. Antoine was home on leave from boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina.
4. Antoine at First Baptist Church Orlando while on leave from boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina. Deborah said they were kidding around and she was teasing him and taking so many photos that Antoine finally said enough with the photos.
5. This photo was taken when Antoine was stationed in Iceland for a year from 2002-2003.
6 & 7. These photos were taken at Antoine’s home (his mother’s house in Orlando) when he was home on leave from Iceland where he served from 2002-2003. Deborah said you can tell that he gained back the weight he lost in boot camp.
8. Antoine attending church service at First Baptist Church in Orlando when he was home on leave from Iceland where he was stationed from 2002-2003.
9. Antoine and his comrades in a Humvee in Al Anbar province, Iraq, taken just a few days before he was killed in action in the battle to take Fallujah. Deborah said that the Marines in the photo with him are the men who retrieved his body after he was killed in action on November 15, 2004.
10. Beautiful graveside memorial bench at Dade Memorial Cemetery in Miami, Florida – Antoine’s final resting place.