Thursday August 30, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- Thousands lined Route 2, from Greenfield to the city, on Wednesday, paying their respects as a motorcade carrying U.S. Army Pfc. Michael R. DeMarsico II returned him to his hometown.

The motorcade, which included escorts from the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, the state police and the North Adams Police Department, as well as members of the Patriot Guard Riders, began at Westover Air Force Base.

DeMarsico, 20, died Aug. 16 from injuries suffered from an enemy improvised explosive device while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Panjwai, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

Calling hours, at Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home, West Chapels on West Main Street, will be held Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church on Main Street.

State Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, who was among the many state and local officials who turned out for the procession, said he was pleased to see so many come out, not just in the city, but as far away as Greenfield.

"I think its a fitting tribute to someone who gave more than any of us could ever put into words, for the freedoms that we have and that we enjoy," he said. "I think it just says a lot about this community and this region. It's just another reminder of why this is such a special place."

Among the crowds of supporters were many local veterans who came to pay their respects.

Former Massachusetts Army National Guard Spec. Alan Richards, who served with the 747th Military Police Company out of Ware, described the event as "very emotional," noting how he had lost several friends in Iraq.

"It's very, very hard to put into words. [DeMarsico] definitely made the ultimate sacrifice," he said. "To say that my heart aches for the family isn't enough. It goes beyond words."

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