Our wish for our children as they grow has always been that they move forward in life, making a lasting impression on their world, and that they leave a set of respected footprints on this earth.
Our son Michael, from a very young age, knew what his life's work would be. He was born to be a soldier, destined to be a leader and a protector. He wore his uniform proudly and served his country in a way only one who loved his country could.
Michael knew his military choice may take him to faraway places and that those travels may be during a time of war. He accepted that with great courage, and not willing to just be there, Michael in stead did what meant the most: He took the lead and protected his military family, every day knowing the possible cost to his own life.
When Michael left to enlist, he told us he loved his community, his hometown, and wanted to make them proud. When he would write to us, even after deploying, his eag er ness and love for what he was doing gleamed through every word. He was doing something that mattered to him, something he believed was making a difference, but we aren't sure he ever realized just how much of a difference.
After our family was notified Michael had been killed in action Aug. 16, we were spiraled into a place where nothing seemed to matter. Michael was gone and we were lost. We would remain that way for some time.
On Aug. 29, our family traveled to Westover Air Force Base to welcome Michael home to Massachusetts. What we witnessed there was breathtaking: Such respect, honor and dignity was given to our son. But what we could never have imagined was the portrait that was about to be unveiled be fore our eyes as we made the journey back home to North Adams. Each town we passed through also in many ways honored our son over every mile we traveled. We are so very thankful for all of it.
When we rounded the Hair pin Turn, we were greeted by standing salutes from the Clarks burg and Florida Fire departments, and that was just the beginning. As we moved down into the city, the sea of red, white and blue was amazing. Flags waving and whispering to Michael and his family, "WELCOME HOME."
North Adams, we saw each and every one of you. From the young child to the elder World War II veteran, who in uniform struggled but stood to give a final salute to our boy. Those we knew and those we didn't, you filled the streets of Michael's favorite place, his hometown.
You showed not just us, but the entire United States, what real community is, what HOME feels like. You came out to honor Spc. Michael R. DeMarsico II, your hero. In do ing so, you left a lasting honor with his family. We love and miss our dear Michael every waking moment and sleepless moment of every day, and we want you to know that the honor and tribute you bestowed upon our son picked us up on that very difficult day. You showed us the way when we felt so very lost. You have carried us forward and make us so very, very proud to CALL NORTH ADAMS OUR HOME.
That boy we hoped would leave a footprint left his footprints across the world. You dear friends placed North Adams' footprint there also, and most importantly, you left them within our hearts. WE THANK AND LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.
Thank you will never be enough for all you have done. Bless you all.
The Family of
Spc. Michael R. DeMarsico II