Posted at: 08/18/2012 12:13 AM
| Updated at: 08/18/2012 3:29 AM
By: Jessica Layton
NORTH ADAMS - Patriotism and immeasurable pain in North Adams. American flags flew at half staff in honor of its native son, Private First Class Michael DeMarsico.
"No parent, aunt, sister, cousin, brother should ever go through this," said Laurie Douglas, DeMarsico's aunt.
It must have taken every ounce of strength for relatives of the fallen soldier to face the world and talk about losing their hero. They clasped hands while clinging onto memories of a young man who liked baseball and football, loved his family and lived to serve his country.
Douglas tells us her 20 year old nephew was excited about the position he'd just accepted on the front lines of the war, searching for bombs. He was killed Thursday when he stepped on a land mine. The family was notified around 1am Friday, with a knock at the door that anyone with a loved one in the military prays they never have to answer.
Serving his first tour of duty, DeMarsico was four months shy of his 21st birthday. And four months away from a holiday homecoming.
DeMarsico is the first North Adams native to be killed in combat since Vietnam. His name will be added to the Veteran's Memorial in the center of the small, Western Massachusetts city of about 13,000 people.
Mayor Richard Alcombright said the community is heartbroken and this young hero will be sorely missed.
But nobody will miss him more than the people who'd been counting the days until he'd be back. Three sisters, one brother, a mom and dad who put a service flag in their front window, with a light that will keep shining until Michael comes home.
"A hero that was deployed to Afghanistan, and now deployed to heaven," Douglas said through tears.
DeMarsico was a 2010 graduate of Drury High School. No word yet on when his remains will be coming home.