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‘I had to do something’

For Laura Herzog, it all started the day he died.

It was Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009, and a world away. A 21-year-old Marine was on patrol in Afghanistan when an improvised bomb exploded under the Humvee he was driving. Back in California, Herzog was at her desk at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos when she learned she would be needed in transferring the body back to his family.

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my God, what am I supposed to do?’ ” she said. “But I also remember thinking, ‘No problem. I’ll do what I have to do’ because that’s the kind of person I am.”

Within days, Herzog would come to know a man she would never meet: Lance Cpl. Justin Swanson.

Two days later,  as Herzog knocked on the white front door of the family’s Anaheim home, a single red rose trembled in her hands.

“I remember feeling like my heart was going to explode out of my chest,” she said.

Mary Hargrove, the Marine’s mother, opened the door. Already informed of her son’s death, all she could do was weep.

Read Nicole Santa Cruz’s article: A different kind of hero mission


  1. January 31, 2012, 8:38 pm

    We miss you soooo much brother….<3

    By: lena
  2. February 1, 2012, 12:39 am

    Reblogged this on Sonhos Desencontrados and commented:
    Quanto sentimento!

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