Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Baltimore National Guardsman is killed in Afghanistan as violent demonstrations rock the country. The unrest is now in its sixth day. It all stems from the burning of Muslim holy books on an American airfield.
Monique Griego has more from the victim’s family.
Family members don’t have too many details on how he was killed, but they are remembering the life of the man they call their hero.
“He was the best soldier that you could have been.”
Aaron Marchanti and his sister Leah are mourning the loss of their father– 48-year-old Maj. Robert Marchanti. The Army National Guardsman was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan where outrage over the burning of a Quran by American troops has led to violent demonstrations.
Saturday, two soldiers– a lieutenant colonel and a major– were shot inside what was supposed to be one of the most secure areas of a government ministry building. But the military has yet to confirm Marchanti was one of them.
“We don’t know anything about what happened,” Aaron Marchanti said.
Marchanti’s family is aware of the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, but they are choosing to remember how the father of four lived.
And especially how he loved his wife.
“He lived to love her. That was like his job. It was a love story straight out of ‘The Notebook,’” Aaron Marchanti said.
“He’s always said, ‘Take care of Mommy’. He said, ‘Take care of Mom,’” Leah Marchanti said.
“‘Take care of my sweetheart. If anything ever happens to me.’ So that’s what we’re going to do,” Aaron Marchanti said.
But Marchanti left his mark on more than just his own family.
For years, Marchanti worked as a physical education teacher for Baltimore County Schools. Friends and former students are now paying to tribute to Marchanti online while his own children reflect on loss of the man who meant so much.
“My father has been my idol, and he has been my hero. And I grew up trying to be just like him. And I hope and pray that I can be even 50 percent of what that man was,” Aaron Marchanti said.
“If more fathers could be like he was, this would be a better place with men like him,” Leah Marchanti said.
In the past, Maj. Marchanti had done one tour of duty in Kosovo. This was his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. Family members were looking forward to his safe return later this year.
A spokesman for the international force says despite the tensions, it will continue to stand by its Afghan partners and not let these clashes divide the coalition.