WATERVILLE, Maine -- Hundreds of mourners singing ''God Bless America" paid respects yesterday in the first of two funerals for Mainers killed this month in an explosion in Iraq.
A Mass of Christian burial with military honors was said at Notre Dame Church for Staff Sergeant Lynn Poulin. Poulin, 47, of Freedom, and Specialist Thomas Dostie, 20, of Somerville, were among 22 people killed in the explosion at their base dining hall in Mosul on Dec. 21.
At the request of Poulin's family, the service included a prayer for those still serving overseas. The family invited those at the church to a reception afterward at the Waterville armory.
Among those attending the funeral Mass were Govenor John Baldacci, US senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, US Representatives Tom Allen and Michael Michaud, and Adjutant General John Libby, commander of the Maine National Guard.
A funeral Mass for Dostie was scheduled for today at Erskine Academy in South China, where he graduated in 2002.
The Maine Army National Guard's 133d Engineer Battalion has had three members killed in action since arriving in Iraq 10 months ago. The first was Specialist Christopher Gelineau, 23, of Portland.
Poulin, who was married with two grown children and two stepchildren, worked at Bath Iron Works. His military assignments included a job as a metal worker, and among his citations was one for his work upgrading Humvees.
Baldacci directed that the United States flag and the State of Maine flag be flown at half staff from sunrise to sunset yesterday in remembrance and honor of Poulin and from sunrise to sunset Friday in remembrance and honor of Dostie.
A memorial service was held at Forward Operating Base Marez in Iraq on Christmas Day in honor of both soldiers.
Notre Dame Church, still decorated for the Christmas season with wreaths and gold ribbon, was nearly full for the service. Poulin's family was assisted entering and leaving the church by some of the many military personnel on hand.
On Monday, officials said three Maine soldiers serving in the 133d were injured when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Mosul.
The battalion's 500 members have been stationed in Mosul since February and are rebuilding the region's roads and buildings.