A Memo­rial Day Fea­ture

Lo­cal Na­tional Guards­men re­mem­bered on Memo­rial Day

The Avenue News - - Front Page - By VIR­GINIA TERHUNE vter­hune@ches­pub.com

Na­tional Guards­men re­mem­bered on Memo­rial Day

Last Memo­rial Day, Peggy Marchanti trav­eled to Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery in Vir­ginia to honor the mem­ory of her hus­band, Maj. Robert Marchanti, who was shot and killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2012.

“It was packed with other fallen sol­diers’ fam­i­lies,” said Peggy Marchanti, who took com­fort from be­ing with other wid­ows of fallen sol­diers that day.

Four years af­ter her hus­band’s death, she con­tin­ues to honor his mem­ory, not only on Memo­rial Day but through­out the year, in a num­ber of public ways.

A res­i­dent of Gar­denville in north­east Bal­ti­more, Maj. Marchanti was a Tow­son Univer­sity grad­u­ate who worked for many years as a phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher at var­i­ous el­e­men­tary schools, in­clud­ing Carney El­e­men­tary.

He also worked at Dun­dalk and Lo­gan el­e­men­tary schools in Dun­dalk, and Mars Es­tates and Vic­tory Villa el­e­men­tary schools in Mid­dle River.

Maj. Marchanti joined the Mary­land Army Na­tional Guard in 1986, serv­ing for a time in Kosovo in south­east­ern Europe, and ul­ti­mately joined the Guard full time in 2008.

“He al­ways loved the mil­i­tary,” Peggy Marchanti said. “He saw it as a way to help peo­ple, re­ally help peo­ple.”

Maj. Marchanti was work­ing at the Fifth Reg­i­ment Ar­mory in Bal­ti­more on con­struc­tion con­tracts for Guard fa­cil­i­ties when he was tapped to go to Afghanistan.

At first he didn’t think he would be de­ployed, partly be­cause of his age — he was in his 40s — and partly be­cause of a hear­ing loss stem­ming from his time in Kosovo, Peggy Marchanti said.

But he ul­ti­mately was de­ployed, and on Feb. 25, 2012, an Afghani po­lice­man shot Marchanti and Air Force Lt. Col. John D. Loftis of Ken­tucky in the head as they worked in­side a min­istry build­ing in Kabul.

Sev­eral days ear­lier, protests and ri­ot­ing had erupted af­ter copies of the Qu­ran that had been boxed for stor­age were mis­tak­enly burned at t

Marchanti was only a few home for a va­ca­tion to cel with his wife and their four

In the years since, Pegg drawn on friends, fam­ily an with the enor­mous loss of h

the Ba­gram Air Base. w months short of re­turn­ing le­brate his 25th an­niver­sary chil­dren when he was killed. gy Marchanti said she has nd her Chris­tian faith to cope her hus­band, whom she had known and loved since high school.

One of the things she misses most was his abil­ity to make her and their chil­dren laugh.

“He was so funny,” she said. “He’d crack jokes all the time.”

She oc­ca­sion­ally touches base with Lt. Col. Loftis’ widow and also con­nects with or­ga­ni­za­tions such as T.A.P.S., the Tragedy As­sis­tance Pro­gram for Sur­vivors, based in Ar­ling­ton.

She also re­ceives con­tin­u­ing sup­port from the Mary­land Army Na­tional Guard, which helped her as­sem­ble Maj. Marchanti’s many medals, in­clud­ing the Pur­ple Heart, in a glassed-in frame.

“They all mean some­thing, and they’re dis­played in the right way,” she said.

The Guard’s chap­lain also checks in with her from time to time to see how she’s do­ing, as do other mem­bers of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I’m very for­tu­nate that there are peo­ple in place that help me,” she said. “They’ve been so good to me.”

For the past two years, Peggy Marchanti has also worked with the Ravens Nest 8 fan club based in Mid­dle River to help or­ga­nize its an­nual 5K walk and run ded­i­cated to Maj. Marchanti.

This year the event is sched­uled for Sept. 18 start­ing from Bill Bate­man’s Ex­press on Com­pass Road in Mid­dle River.

For Vet­er­ans Day in Novem­ber, the Red Cross brings the fam­i­lies of fallen sol­diers to­gether, and the Guard also hosts a cer­e­mony for fallen sol­diers at Camp Fret­terd, its mil­i­tary reser­va­tion in Reis­ter­stown.

The names of the fallen are read at a bronze sculp­ture of a hel­met sit­ting on top of an up­right ri­fle rooted in a pair of boots. A bell is rung and a set of dog tags are placed on the memo­rial.

Peggy Marchanti said she hopes at some point to es­tab­lish a foun­da­tion in her hus­band’s honor.

“I’d love to work with fallen sol­diers and their fam­i­lies,” she said. “I know so much about get­ting through this — and I think I could give a lot in that way.”

Maj. Robert

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Marchanti

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