Flags in Massachusetts at half-staff to honor soldier killed in Afghanistan

Massachusetts News

This May 29, 2021 photo released by the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade/U.S. Marines shows fallen Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass. Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier were among the dead, while 18 other U.S. service members were wounded in the Thursday Aug. 26, bombing at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which was blamed on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marines via AP)

BOSTON (WWLP/AP) — The U.S. flag is at half-staff through Wednesday in Massachusetts in honor of Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, a marine from Lawrence, Massachusetts. Gov. Charlie Baker ordered both the American and Commonwealth flags to be lowered from sunrise until sunset at all state buildings.

Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo died in the August 26 bombing near the Kabul airport where people were being evacuated amid the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. She is mourned in the Massachusetts mill town of Lawrence she called home, the state’s capital, and her birthplace in the Dominican Republic. “We will not allow her to be forgotten,” said Jaime Melendez, director of veterans services in Lawrence, where Rosario attended high school.

The 25-year-old served with the Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which praised her work as supply chief this spring. She and a dozen other U.S. service members Marines were killed as they were helping to screen Afghans and others at the gate of the Kabul airport. They were all awarded the Purple Heart last week. One hundred sixty-nine Afghans were also killed as people struggled to get into the airport and on flights out of the country.

A funeral Mass was held Monday morning at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church for Rosario Pichardo’s family and other invited guests. On Tuesday, a public wake was planned at Veterans Memorial Stadium next to Lawrence High School, where Rosario Pichardo graduated. She’ll be laid to rest at Bellevue Cemetery in a section reserved for military veterans.

Sonia Guzmán, the Dominican Republic’s U.S. ambassador, tweeted that the Caribbean nation shares in the loss. “Peace to your soul!” she tweeted in Spanish.

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