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Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown joined hundreds of family members, friends and supporters Saturday at the funeral of a soldier from North Adams who was killed in Afghanistan.
Mourners nearly filled the 725-seat First Baptist Church for the funeral for Army Pfc. Michael DeMarsico II, while several hundred more stood outside and listened to audio of the service broadcast over loudspeakers, according to The Berkshire Eagle. About 200 motorcycle riders from around New England and New York lined the streets around the church with American flags, the newspaper reported.
DeMarsico, 20, died Aug. 16 from injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, who traveled to the funeral from Washington, D.C., related memories from DeMarsico's fellow platoon members. As the point man of his platoon, DeMarsico "led from the front with courage and fortitude," finding and disarming 15 explosive devices before the one that took his life, Lanza said.
DeMarsico died in the arms of the platoon's medic, who made sure he didn't suffer, Lanza said.
"Michael was indeed loved - not just by those who are here today - but by those who he served with in combat," Lanza said. "Michael was loved by his band of brothers in Afghanistan."
DeMarsico joined the Army in February 2011. He deployed to Afghanistan for the first time with his brigade in December 2011.
His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal.
"He was all about people," said Rev. David A. Anderson, who officiated the service. "It was family first. And he understood that friends are family. He was loving, kind and loyal. And he was funny and always liked to joke around and always liked to make other people laugh."
The funeral was followed by burial with full military honors in the city's Southview Cemetery.
This program aired on September 2, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.
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