On August 16th, Private First Class Michael DeMarsico II gave the ultimate sacrifice, protecting his fellow soldiers and protecting the freedoms of his country in Afghanistan.
I did not know Michael. I have no personal connection to him other than the fact that we were born and raised in the same city, the place we both call home. But yesterday, thousands lined the streets with American flags, silence and great respect, to welcome home this soldier's remains in a 15-vehicle motorcade. It was a hero's welcome and it touched my heart to see this community come together to support him and his family in this way.
On Saturday, the community will gather again to support the DeMarsico family. We will line the streets and surround the church. We will honor a fallen solider. We will lead by example, and teach our children to respect and appreciate the sacrifices our military and their families make to protect us. We will form a barrier and protect the family from the hateful people who have claimed they are coming to protest this military funeral. We will allow a family to mourn and bury their son, brother, cousin and friend, not just a random soldier, in peace and surrounded by love and respect.
I have never been more proud to be a part of this community and to raise my daughter here. My uncle served in the Gulf War. My brother-in-law is currently serving in Afghanistan. My daughter safely runs around in the backyard because of them, Michael, and many more brave men and women like them. My daughter may not even be 2 years old yet, but she knows that we fly the American flag on the porch for Uncle Ry Ry. I pray that she will grow to herself feel the respect that I have for our military and that she always has this sense of community support around her.
Thank you for your sacrifice, Michael. Our prayers are with you and your family. We appreciate your protection of our way of life here at home and your sacrifice. We are grateful. May you rest in peace.