A U.S. Marine from Lawrence, Mass. is among the 13 American service members killed in the terrorist attack outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan earlier this week.
Sergeant Johanny Rosario, 25, died in the attack on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday afternoon.
“We will not allow her to be forgotten, “said Jamie Melendez, the director of veteran’s service for the city of Lawrence
The attack on Thursday — killing 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and a U.S. Army soldier — comes just days before the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan. ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.
On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Defense released the names of all 13 of the service members killed in the attack.
The final death toll has not been confirmed, but two officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Friday said that at least 169 Afghans had died in the attack. The Pentagon said the U.S. struck back against ISIS-K with a drone strike on Friday.
At the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in Boston’s Seaport District, two gold star family members laid a wreath with a white banner bearing the name of Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario.
Dan Magoon, who heads a group of combat veterans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, organized the memorial on Saturday. He said his group will offer assistance to Rosario’s family.
“Our commonwealth and our veteran community and this organization is ready to help support that family when the time is ready,” said Magoon.
At the brief ceremony, 13 roses were laid at the base of the memorial to honor each service member who was killed in the attack.
Melendez says he is going to help the family of Rosario “to make sure they have what they need and to make sure this country never forgets her sacrifice and her family’s sacrifice.”
Mayor of Lawrence, Kendrys Vasquez, said he has been in contact with the family.
“We are heartbroken by the death of the servicemen and women due to the bombing in Kabul this week,” he said. “I and the city of Lawrence are particularly saddened that one of those brave souls was a daughter of our city.”
The family wishes for privacy “and that their loved one be recognized as the hero that she was,” the mayor said.
Melendez said people have strong feelings about the U.S. involvement that’s coming to an end after two decades in Afghanistan.
“There are people on both sides of the fence. I get it,” he said. “This is about one of our own, a daughter of Lawrence. For us it is definitely about her service and her family’s sacrifice. That’s what will be focusing on.”
Mayor Vasquez held a press conference in Lawrence Saturday afternoon to offer condolences to Rosario’s family, honor her, and provide resources to other veteran’s who may be struggling.
Vasquez said when he went to the family’s home, they immediately began sharing pictures of the Marine Corps Sergeant with him.
“She was a happy person — you could tell [from the pictures]. She loved what she was doing,” said Vasquez. “We will always remember her.”