WESTFIELD — Marine Corporal Humberto Sanchez was honored Saturday at the Fallen Hoosier Heroes Memorial in Westfield.
The Memorial honors Hoosiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the fight for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11.
Cpl. Sanchez was one of 13 U.S. service members killed in the attacks near the Kabul airport on August 26 where people gathered in the hopes of escaping Afghanistan following a takeover by the Taliban.
It was an emotional day for the family, who tells WRTV they're proud his legacy lives on.
"He will never be forgotten," said Ruben Roque, Cpl. Sanchez's cousin.
His mother and other family members stood together as the plaque was placed on the ground reflecting on Corporal Sanchez‘s bravery.
"Corporal Sanchez could’ve turned around ,gone back inside. Self preservation is an easy decision and most Americans would’ve chosen that, however Marines move towards the sounds of chaos and justice and despair and this is exactly what Corporal Sanchez did," said USMCR Col Scott Willis.
Roque says that’s just the person he was - kindhearted, passionate and willing to risk it all to save others.
"Even at the last second, he was saving every little kids life, so seeing this and seeing all the stuff they keep honoring him [with] means a lot to me. He didn’t die for just simple reasons, he died giving his life and protecting every single one of us and I love that the community surrounds us,” said Roque.
He was the 210th Indiana service member to be honored there. State leaders, community members and families who also lost a child in fight for freedom in Afghanistan joined the Sanchez family as support.
“A piece of him will be here in Westfield, close to home, so I think that’s really touching and lovely and something we will never forget," said Roque.
As the wind blew and the flags waved, comfort was given to Roque knowing his hero is always with him.
"It sucks that he’s gone, but he’s smiling in heaven, he was here with us today and he will always be with us in our heart," said Roque.