LAWRENCE (CBS) - It was an emotional moment as the mother of Marine Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo kissed her daughter's casket draped with the American flag. The 25-year-old landed at Logan International Airport on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
"Twenty years ago, she was five years old, she didn't know what 9/11 was all about, but she still answered the call to serve her country and she did it to the point of serving the ultimate sacrifice," Local 146 Lawrence Firefighters Union President Eric Zahn said.
Her casket was taken off the plane by fellow Marines before beginning her final journey back home to Lawrence where she'll be laid to rest.
Along I-93, fire departments, police departments, service men and women, as well as crowds of supporters stood waving flags and saluting. The procession took a pause along Rt. 114 as they entered her hometown, stopping underneath an American flag held up by two Lawrence fire trucks.
Rosario Pichardo was one of 13 troops killed August 26 in the suicide bomber attack during the evacuation mission at the Kabul airport. She was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart earlier this week.
Many of the supporters that came out to the procession were fellow Marines.
"I came out here to support my fellow Marine. We never leave a Marine behind, and I just feel bad for her family," Christine Stearns said.
"It's a very tight-knit community to be a female Marine. We are the few and the prouder; 20 years later, Sergeant Rosario was out there still fighting that war, so I think it's a very humbling day," Camille Craffey said.
A public wake for Sergeant Rosario will be held at Veterans Memorial Stadium this Tuesday. The burial will be in Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence.
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