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Lawrence Vigil Honors Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Killed In Kabul Attack

LAWRENCE (CBS) - The City of Lawrence remembered 25-year-old U.S. Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario with a vigil held in her honor at Veterans Memorial Stadium Tuesday night. Rosario was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last week.

It was last Thursday when Johanny was killed outside the airport in Kabul, where she was processing Afghan allies seeking an exit from the Taliban takeover.

"She helped over 30,000 people reach safety before she was killed by a suicide bomber," Gov. Charlie Baker said at the vigil.

The vigil was held where Johanny graduated from high school, before joining the Marines in 2015. But her family and friends say her real goal was to become a social worker to help protect children.

Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo. (Image credit Naval Amphibious Force, Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade)

"She was very genuine, very humble, always energized," friend Jose Reyes said. "Everyone I know said she always influenced them in some way."

Longtime friends shared how they texted with her the very morning of the bomb blast and of the sickening feeling they had later that night when their return texts went unanswered.

"Make sure you tell the people you love how much you love them, and don't take that for granted, because you never know when they'll be gone," said Mayelin Jimenez.

Lawrence vigil
Vigil for Sgt. Johanny Rosario in Lawrence (WBZ-TV)

With song and prayer and candlelight, the city said goodbye to a native daughter. "I hope you all take a moment and remember one of our brightest stars," Gov. Baker said.

Earlier in the day, volunteers gathered at the Lawrence Senior Center to create hundreds of black ribbons, symbols of mourning, to give people attending the vigil.

Lifelong Lawrence resident Jose Ortega said the loss of Rosario is hitting the city hard. "Aside from being a similar age as her, I'm also from a Dominican background, so it's very close to the city, hits close to home," Ortega said.

WBZ-TV's Zinnia Maldonado reports

Katherine Nevarez sat by her daughter- a friend of Rosario's - creating black ribbons at the center Tuesday afternoon.

"To do this for Johanny- my daughter Deliah's friend -is such an honor because we are honoring the soldiers before her and the soldiers after her," Nevarez said.

Residents placed American flags throughout the Veterans Memorial Stadium where hundreds gathered in her honor. A request coming from her family, giving the Lawrence community a chance to pay honor and respect.

"When they wear their ribbon, they'll be able to remember her and everything she's done for us," Lisa Modugno said.

WBZ-TV's Zinnia Maldonado contributed to this report.

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