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Fallen Marine returns home as US marks 20 years after 9/11

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Local The 25-year-old is expected to arrive at Logan International Airport in Boston around noon. Family members and guests gather around a photo of Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, a US Navy who was one of 13 servicemen killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan, during a vigil on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, in his hometown of Lawrence. AP Photo / David Goldman

By Associated Press

September 11, 2021 | 11:10 a.m.

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) The body of a U.S. Marine killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan returned home Saturday in a solemn procession through Massachusetts on the 20th anniversary of the attacks that led to the world’s longest war. United States.

Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo died in the August 26 bombing near Kabul airport, where people were evacuated amid the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. A dozen other US servicemen and 169 Afghans were killed as people struggled to enter the airport and on flights out of the country.

Dignitaries including Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Kim Janey and US Senator Edward Markey paid tribute to his family as the body arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport.

In Rosario Pichardo’s hometown of Lawrence, people lined highway overpasses and streets waving American flags as the motorcade passed through town near the New Hampshire state border.

A Navy honor guard carried the flag-draped casket to the Farrah Funeral Home as police, firefighters and others rose and saluted.

We will never forget his name, said Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez afterwards. We are proud to have him at home.

Francisco Urena, a former state commissioner of veterans affairs who assisted the Rosarios family, said the importance of the fallen soldier’s return home on the anniversary of the attack that sparked the war that ultimately cost him his life is not lost on his family.

You have to understand that Johanny was five years old, a kindergarten 20 years ago. She lived in a country at war, ”he said. “She volunteered to serve our country and volunteered to participate in this mission.

Saturday represents the real start of the family’s mourning, as many have recently arrived from Rosario Pichardo’s native Dominican Republic and beyond, Urena said.

It has been a long time coming for this family. It has been very difficult days, sleepless nights, he said. But the city of Lawrence stepped up to ensure that this young naval sergeant and her family were not alone during this time.

The 25-year-old served in the Amphibious Naval Force, Task Force 51 / 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. She and other Marines were killed as they helped filter Afghans and others at the gate of Kabul airport. They all received the Purple Heart last week.

A funeral mass will be held Monday morning at the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption for the family of Rosario Pichardos and other guests.

On Tuesday there will be a public vigil at the Veterans Memorial Stadium next to Lawrence High School, where Rosario Pichardo graduated. Shell rests in Bellevue Cemetery in a section reserved for veterans.

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2/ https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2021/09/11/fallen-marine-returning-home-as-u-s-marks-20-years-after-9-11/

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