Lance Cpl. Dominic Ciaramitaro, 19, died serving in Afghanistan four years ago, and today there’s plans to make sure his ultimate sacrifice isn’t forgotten.
A couple of weeks after his death hundreds of people lined the streets of downtown South Lyon to honor the young man as his casket traversed through the city to Phillip’s Funeral Home. But local veterans and school officials don’t think that’s enough.
South Lyon’s VFW Post 1224 and the South Lyon Community Schools plan to name the South Lyon High School football field and plaza entrance after the South Lyon Marine.
The 2009 South Lyon High School graduate died April 23, 2011, in Helmand Province while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom.
“It’s a tragedy when our own town doesn’t fully remember someone who gave his life for the country, and we really wanted to honor his sacrifice,” said John McMahon, VFW Post 1224 senior vice-commander and retired lieutenant colonel, on why he wanted to see something done to remember Ciaramitaro.
Ciaramitaro’s father, John, said it “just took my breath away” when he heard about the project.
“I’m sure that it’s something that Dominic would like very much,” said Ciaramitaro, a South Lyon resident.
Dominic was fun loving and a prankster who played football and wrestled in high school, he added.
“He was a special kind of guy,” Ciaramitaro said. “We think about him every day and we miss him. I’m very proud of him. He was where he wanted to be.”
David Forsyth, VFW 1224 member, said he and other members of the post suggested a memorial, “because it was a big deal when it happened, and it got forgotten.” The dedication isn’t expected until next fall, and there likely will be fundraisers to pay for the plaque and other amenities, like benches.
“A lot of people want to put bad stuff out of their memory,” McMahon said. “You have to look at your scars and remember good people who do good things. This is the right thing to do and this town needs to remember his sacrifice. He had a very short life, but what an impact. I think we forget what the military do.”
“It is truly great to be able to honor someone from our community who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and American values,” said school board President Steve Brummer said. “His sacrifice is an inspiration to all to of us to serve.”
Ciaramitaro said the location of the Lance Corporal Dominic J. Ciaramitaro USMC Athletic Field and Plaza plaque will be fitting especially for his family since his daughter Grace, a fifth grade cheerleader, will pass it regularly on her way to practices and games.
“She was very young when he died, but they were very close,” Ciaramitaro said.
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