As a member of Marine Corps League and a Gold Star father, I was assigned to present the prestigious United States Marine Corps Eagle Globe and Anchor to a broken-hearted Gold Star mother at the funeral of her daughter in the middle of a football field in the City of Lawrence on September 14, 2021.

When I approached, my heart was pounding but I stood as tall as I could, looked her in the eyes, and explained to her who I was and my mission.

I could see that she did not understand. This mother is a beautiful Dominican American and is still learning our English language. Her United States Marine escort quickly interpreted my remarks. Within a few seconds our eyes locked, and we no longer needed any help.

In a field of hundreds, it was just two Gold Star parents sharing our losses and newfound respect and love for each other.

I presented her the EGA and a pin with a picture of Nicholas on it. I told her that Nicholas and her daughter are now together and that he would look out for her and take care of her in heaven.

I explained that I know her pain and from now on, she is not alone, and we would watch our for each other.

That’s what Marines and Gold Star families do.

Before I departed, I saluted her and despite her broken heart, she returned the salute—along with a special smile.

Mission accomplished.

God Bless United States Marine Corps Sergeant Johanna Rosario Pichardo and her beautiful, strong, and proud Gold Star mom Colasa.

Always be proud to be an American.

We are a great nation and truly the melting pot of the world.

Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers, be a better American, and live every day worthy of the incredible sacrifices made for all of us.

Semper Fidelis.

Steven G. Xiarhos

West Barnstable

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