The Iraq War came back to their old neighborhood on Saturday, Aug. 30.
The family of Army Sgt. Daniel Londono gathered at the intersection of East Cottage and Dawes streets in Dorchester, Mass., to see the unveiling of a new plaque that tells his story.
They call these places Hero Squares, and there are more than 1,000 across Boston. They mark the members of the military from the city who have been killed in action. Some of them date back to the Civil War. Boston is trying to make these places more than just a name on a sign.
They call these places Hero Squares, and there are more than 1,000 across Boston. They mark the members of the military from the city who have been killed in action... Boston is trying to make these places more than just a name on a sign.
"The importance of this is no longer, ‘this is going to be a sign without a history,’" said Francisco Urena, Boston's commissioner of veterans services.
Sgt. Daniel Londono's history started when he was born in 1981. He grew up playing on these streets. He joined the Army just a couple of months after he graduated from Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Mass., in 2000. His family said he decided to enlist to help pay for his college education and for that of his sister, Diana. He served in Kosovo and Afghanistan before he was deployed to Iraq.
On March 13, 2004, Sgt. Londono was riding in a Humvee that hit a roadside bomb. He was killed alongside two other soldiers, Staff. Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin of Ogden, Utah, and Pfc. Joel K. Brattain of Santa Anna, Calif. Ferrin was 31 years old. Brattain was 21. Daniel Londono was 22 and two months shy of the end of his tour of duty.
Diana Londono was 18 when her brother died. She returned to their old neighborhood for the Hero Square dedication ceremony. There were a lot of hugs and a lot of tears. "I'm honored that everybody took the time out of their weekends to come out and honor my brother, it means a lot to us," she said. "He was a great person. I know everybody says that about somebody that's passed away, but he was genuinely a great person, a great big brother, awesome role model, always great to us."
The Iraq War was less than a year old when Sgt. Daniel Londono was killed. It would drag on for another seven years and claim more than 4,400 more American lives. There should be plaques for all them, but a few words on a memorial plaque really can't do these men and women justice. They can't contain the memories their families hold so dear.
"Sledding down the hill over here in the winter," said Diana Londono, now 28. "Walking to school. We went to St. Margaret's down the street."
On Saturday, Diana's three little boys were playing on the hill where she and her brother used to sled. It was a beautiful summer day.
Daniel Londono’s family released seven balloons into a clear blue sky.