UNION CITY -- As a song about the miracle of life played Friday during the funeral service for Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Silva, his 2-year-old son Noah walked to the front of the church and, for a moment, sat between two photos of his father.
Little Noah was among the more than 900 mourners, including dozens of Marines, at Saint Anne Catholic Church to say goodbye to Silva, who died last week when police say a drunken driver hit him in Fremont.
Silva, 23, was described as an honest and generous young man who loved, above all else, his family -- parents, Linus and Elsie Silva; three younger brothers, Matthew, Bryant and Louie; his wife Julie and Noah.
"He was the kind of person we all looked up to," brother Matthew Silva said a few minutes before services began. "Him being the oldest, we always followed in his footsteps. We learned from his mistakes and definitely his successes as well."
Sorrow, pain and a nearly indescribable sense of loss filled the church Friday. Two Marines left in the middle of service, unable to control their emotions.
Grief and suffering are "understandable in the midst of this suffering," said Saint Anne's pastor, Father Geoffrey Baraan. The best way to honor Silva is to live life to the fullest, he said.
"If you want to honor Andrew, love one another," Baraan told the standing-room-only room of mourners. "Andrew lived a happy life because he served others by serving in the Marine Corps so we can be here living free from fear."
Silva, a Union City native, played football, wrestled and was in a choir at James Logan High, where he graduated in 2009.
He was in a San Jose-based combat logistics battalion reserve unit and attending Foothill College when he volunteered for overseas duty. He was sent to Afghanistan, serving in the southern part of the country as a landing support specialist aiding air operations.
After serving more than six months there, Silva rejoined his wife and son in February.
He was home for little more than a month before the fatal accident. He was riding his 2014 Harley Davidson in Fremont at about 1:15 a.m. March 25 when, witnesses say, the driver of a Mini Cooper speeding at an estimated 90 mph ran through a red light and crashed into the Marine reservist. Silva died instantly.
The driver, 23-year-old Emeryville resident Alexander Yohn, is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He is charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and felony hit-and-run.
Yohn told Fremont police he was a recovering heroin addict and alcoholic and said he drank heavily that night and could not remember the accident.
A fund has been created for Silva's family. Contributions can be made to the Andrew Silva Memorial account at Fremont Bank branch. Checks can be sent to Fremont Bank, P.O. Box 8170, Fremont, CA, 94537-8170.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.