LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP/WHDH) — The flag-draped casket of a Marine from Massachusetts killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last month was carried by her fellow Marines into a stadium on Tuesday morning while hundreds of people lined up outside for a chance to pay their respects.
Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, was among 13 U.S. service members who died in the Aug. 26 bombing at the Kabul airport, where people were being evacuated amid the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. She was screening women and children.
A dozen other U.S. service members and 169 Afghans were killed.
Her family watched solemnly as the casket entered Veterans Memorial Stadium in her hometown of Lawrence on Tuesday, near pictures of the other 12 service members killed.
Rosario served with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
A private funeral Mass presided over by Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley was held Monday. After Tuesday’s wake, she will be buried at Bellevue Cemetery in a section reserved for veterans.
“I am proud of her service, proud of what she was doing to protect women and children, especially in Afghanistan,” U.S. Sen. Edward Markey said Tuesday. “That’s who she was. She was the embodiment of everything that Lawrence and this community stands for.”
“I am so proud to be able to say that Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo was a child of the Commonwealth. God bless her,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.
Many people who did not know Pichardo came to the wake to honor her service.
“This is what we do. We always have each other’s back and come and support one another,” said U.S. Marine David Goulet.
“She’s a true hero,” said Yvonne Frazier. “She’s from our community. Lawrence, it’s a very tight community, so losing one daughter, as a mom, everybody loses a daughter.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe in her memory.
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