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Sacrifice in Afghanistan Does Little to Alleviate Grief in Macomb

Ten years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the DiLisio family prays that the loss of their soldier to the "War on Terror" will not be in vain.

As the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, Patch looks back on how this event changed the lives of friends and neighbors in Macomb.

Anthony DiLisio was 10 years old when the attacks of Sept. 11 began America’s “War on Terror.”

He was 20 when he became a casualty of that war by a single gunshot wound to the head while stationed with his Marine regiment in Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Although a decade separates one from the other, these two events will be forever connected in the hearts of the DiLisio family, as thoughts of Sept. 11 will inevitably produce memories of the beloved son, brother and uncle they lost in its aftermath.

“The bottom line is, it all stems back to Sept. 11,” said Lisa DiLisio-Lia, DiLisio’s sister. “That is why we are there today.”

One of six siblings in a large Italian family, Anthony DiLisio added the lance corporal title by enlisting in the Marines after his 2008 graduation from .

Assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, DiLisio was deployed to Afghanistan in December 2009. He was killed while patrolling outside his camp on May 30, 2010.

With no definitive end to the conflict in sight, DiLisio-Lia has had a difficult time convincing herself that her brother’s death was not in vain.

“Everyday somebody else is killed,” DiLisio-Lia said. “Are we getting anywhere with this? My family and myself are hurting over and over again. It’s been 10 years, and there are so many more hurt families who don’t have their loved one around anymore because of what happened on Sept. 11 and it continues everyday. One more and one more.”

Even hearing that Afghanistan is a safer place because of her brother’s sacrifice is little consolation to the sister living thousands of miles away without her slibling.

“When I get another email that says someone else was killed, I can’t help thinking … that one life meant so much more to someone in America than to 5,000 others on the other side of the world,” she said. “There are 11 nieces and nephews who will never know him as we did because Sept. 11 came.”

One of the youngest is 4-year-old Ava DiLisio, pictured here at the Nov. 11, 2010, dedication of the Macomb Township Veterans and First Responders Memorial. Standing near the paving stone placed in her uncle’s memory, she touches the granite marker dedicated to the Marine Corps.

Only 3 years old at her uncle’s death, Ava DiLisio will rely on the memories of family members and moments captured in family photo albums to learn about her Uncle Anthony.

“Ava will know who he was,” DiLisio-Lia said. “He will always be remembered.”

But this Sept. 11, while the DiLisio family remembers and pays tribute to Anthony, they will also share a prayer for an end to the conflict that took him from them in the first place.

“My family is very angry about the whole thing, that it still continues,” DiLisio-Lia said. “Anthony’s battalion came back last year and they’re already back there. When is it going to end? It’s not an eye for an eye anymore.”

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