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MOTHER’S PAIN
Son said, ‘Every day I wake up I wonder if it’s my last day.’

Martha Clark couldn’t bring herself to open the door.
When the knock came at about 10:30 p.m. on Friday, September 14 - and when she heard the soldiers’ voices - Clark knew then that her only son, Specialist Jonathan Rivadeneira, 22, was dead.
“My heart shook and my body shook,” she told The Courier Sun. “I couldn’t open the door - I had my friend do it.”
Rivadeneira, of Jackson Heights, was killed in Baghdad along with three others - Staff Sergeant Terry D. Wagoner, 28, of Piedmont, SC.; Specialist Todd A. Motley, 23, of Clare, MI; and Private Christopher M. McCloud, 24, of Malakoff, TX - when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near their vehicle during combat operations.
They were assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Hood, TX.
“It seems that the war has taken the lives of an inordinate number of soldiers from Queens with Jonathan now joining the ranks of our honored veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “On behalf of the people of Queens, I extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Jonathan’s mother, Martha, his wife, Heather and all his family, friends and colleagues.”
It was Rivadeneira’s first deployment to Iraq in his four years of service - and only two months before the end of his tour.
“He was supposed to come home in November,” said his somber mother. “We had a lot of plans for Christmas.”
Clark goes to the Corona home of Maria del Rosario Duran nightly to pray. Duran’s son, Specialist Alex Jimenez, is still missing in action.
Clark recounted to The Courier Sun how Rivadeneira had enlisted in the Army as a medic at age 18 in order to defray the costs of college, and how she pleaded with him and admonished him to be careful.
“I was against it. I told him to think about it because there’s a war going on in Iraq,” said Clark.
After being sent overseas, she said, Rivadeneira became very depressed.
“He called me and said he wasn’t prepared,” she told The Courier Sun. “When he got his weapons, he said, ‘This is terrible.’ It was hard for him to do something he didn’t want to do [kill].”
Clark also said that her son had a premonition that he would not make it home for good.
“He told my sister, ‘Every day here a lot of people die. Every day I wake up I wonder if it’s my last day.’ ”
Rivadeneira’s wife of two years, Heather, will fly to New York from Chicago next week for the funeral.

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