WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Marine from Lawrence killed in action this summer in Afghanistan is set to receive the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously.
Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, was also awarded the Purple Heart after she was killed by suicide bombers in Kabul, Afghanistan this summer.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the country’s highest expression of national achievements and contributions by an individual or organization.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said the medal recognizes “Johanny’s heroism.”
“Her willingness to put herself in harm’s way to save the lives of others deserves that kind of national recognition,” said Warren, in a telephone interview with The Eagle-Tribune Thursday afternoon.
Warren, a Democrat, and Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana announced Thursday they passed their bipartisan bill to posthumously award Rosario Pichardo and 12 other American service members who lost their lives in the terrorist attack.
The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Warren said after she met Johanny’s mother she wanted to do something more for the family.
“I wanted something tangible. It occurred to me I could ask my fellow senators,” said Warren, noting the Congresssional Gold Medal dates back to the American Revolution. George Washington was the first recipient, she said.
“Johanny will be the latest,” Warren said,
Thousands lined the streets of Lawrence on Sept. 11 when Rosario-Pichardo’s remains were returned to the city.
She was buried in the veterans’ section of Bellevue Cemetery with full military honors.
“Today, the United States Senate moved to recognize the courage, sacrifice and service of the 13 brave young men and women who were killed in Afghanistan. During a pivotal point for our nation, they gave the last full measure for our freedoms. I look forward to the President honoring these American heroes and swiftly signing this bill into law,” said Daines, in a statement.
On Oct. 25, Daines’ and Warren’s companion bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rosario, a Lawrence High School graduate, was in the Marines for eight years.
She had volunteered to be in Kabul screening women and children who were trying to leave the country before the Taliban again resumed control after 20 years of U.S. involvement.
Rosalinda Rosario, 21, remembered her older sister as beautiful, caring and driven.
“She was just the best person. She was my hero, the hero of Lawrence, a hero who died helping people,” Rosalinda said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.