Abington mourns native son Marine Sergeant Daniel Vasselian killed in combat in Afghanistan

ABINGTON—More than 1,000 mourners crowded into St. Bridget Church here for an emotional funeral Mass for Marine Sergeant Daniel Vasselian, 27, who was killed Dec. 23 during combat operations in Afghanistan.

“There is no greater love than this than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” said the Rev. James Mahoney, pastor of St. Bridget’s, after Vasselian’s casket had been slowly wheeled down the aisle by an honor guard of seven Marines.

Vasselian’s wife, Erin, was escorted by a Marine to the altar, where she spoke of her husband’s courage, bravery, and personality.

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Then, turning to look at the casket, she said, “I love you.”

After the funeral service, Jared Crowley stood outside the church and watched the funeral motorcade leave slowly in a steady snow.

“He was one of my brother’s best friends,” said the 31-year-old Crowley.

“He was always the life of the party, but he was also one of the most warm-hearted people,” Crowley said. “It’s been a long holiday season for his family.”

Vasselian was a native of this small South Shore town who married his high school sweetheart. He is the first person from Abington to be killed in combat since the Vietnam War. He was serving his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was killed, officials said.