MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Families, friends, local and national politicians were on hand March 8 to mark the renaming of the U.S. Postal Service Clinton-Macomb Carrier Annex after Lance Cpl. Anthony A. DiLisio, a Macomb man killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
“We will treasure his memory,” promised Township Trustee Janet Dunn to the DiLisio family seated in the front row.
While it was a ceremony to commemorate the change, it also acted as a memorial, providing a chance for those in attendance to learn about the Marine, who was 20 when he was killed.
Lori DiLisio, sister-in-law of Anthony, said he was fan of baseball and country music — particularly Toby Keith. “Being kind to others was part of his nature,” Lori said, using the story of when he helped a stranger change her tire on a cold day to support the claim. The stranger, Lori said, attended his funeral. His kindness touched those around him — even a journalist who traveled with his unit. “I sat at my desk and the tears started flowing uncontrollably,” wrote Atia Abawi, an MSNBC journalist describing the day she found out about Anthony’s death. In a piece entitled “Meeting Anthony in Marjah,” she described the Macomb native as an “old soul.”
Anthony, a graduate from Dakota High School and a member of its swim and baseball team, could have gone on to college. “But he was determined to service a cause that he believed was greater than himself,” said U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich. He was deployed to the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. While deployed, Lori said he missed the simple aspects of home, like his family and their conversations.
“I miss that most, sitting around and just talking,” he wrote in a letter to his sister Lisa Lia.
The day he was killed was to be Anthony’s day off, Miller said. Instead, he volunteered for the mission in which his unit would come in contact with the enemy.
The petition drive to have the post office renamed began at the micro-level with letter carrier Dennis Werth, who organized the drive.
“He deserved it,” he said after the ceremony.
“He was the beginning; he was the impetus here,” Miller said of Werth.
Miller, after receiving the signatures, pushed the legislation through the House of Representatives, where it passed unanimously in November. “While nothing we can ever do can fully honor his ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom, we have a responsibility to do what we can,” Miller said.
The Senate subsequently passed it a month later.
“We honor Anthony because he is another in a long line of American heroes,” said Miller.
She called Anthony one of the county and the nation’s “finest sons.”
While almost two years have passed since Anthony’s death, the family was moved to tears in several moments throughout the dedication.
“I’m just so proud of him,” said Anthony’s father, Lorenzo DiLisio, while speaking to media after the ceremony.
When asked what Anthony would think of the honor, Lorenzo, eyeing the tall picture of his son leaning against the podium, said, “I think he’d be in tears.”
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