Family unveils monument of US Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez at Mount Hope

May 26—A monument to U.S. Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez was unveiled Friday evening at Mount Hope Cemetery as his family, friends and the community gathered to pay their respects.

The large tribute to Sanchez included a statue, his photo and a quote from General George S. Patton Jr. on the front. On the back was an image of Sanchez in his Logansport High School soccer kit and one of his drawings complete with his signature.

The family had waited a year and a half for the monument's completion.

"One of the things that made me do this is that I don't want his name to be forgotten," said his mother Coral Briseño. "And even when I'm not here years later and my kids are not here years later, this is gonna stay here."

Sanchez, a 2017 Logansport High School graduate, lost his life on Aug. 26, 2021 during an enemy attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Thirteen American service members were killed in the attack.

Sanchez's sister, Carol, said she was very good at ignoring what was going on and acting like nothing was wrong.

"This is very bittersweet," she said. "I'm excited he is finally going to have what we wanted for him. But when I come here it's going to be a little bit harder to ignore. It's going to make it more real. And a lot of the time I just like to pretend he's deployed and he will be back."

Major Geoff Ball was Sanchez's company commander in Kabul.

"From the very get-go it was not lost on me what Ghost Company was asked to do along with all the other soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors there," he said. "From the day we showed up on the morning of (August) 19th when our company was nearly overrun, if it wasn't for Bert and his platoon plugging the gap when they showed up we would have lost control of the airport again."

Ball said Sanchez's platoon showed heroism and bravery when they arrived and within 30 minutes they we able to clear the gate and begin processing. During the next week, 3,000 people found freedom and safety.

"I met one of those individuals in Des Moines just the other day, an Afghan refugee who was an interpreter who had served heroically beside us for many years," Ball said. "He talks about freedom and he talks about opportunity."

He said that was what Sanchez and the others who lost their lives had given people.

"Throughout that week it was difficult for me to go up to my young marines and say 'hey, good job. Keep it up,' because I'd be so choked up with emotion with the compassion I saw for their fellow human being."

Ball said the days leading up to the 26th became more difficult and they had to work harder but he never saw the young men and women trade their compassion for anger.

"I can promise you this, for the parts of the line that were the toughest, there was no one else the platoon looked to before Bert Sanchez," he said.

"If it wasn't for (Sanchez), if it wasn't for the other eight and the other young Americans doing their best, well, there would be 130,000 less people understanding what freedom is," said Ball.

Cody Pfister, Sanchez's friend who served alongside him, recalled how welcoming Sanchez was to him and his family.

During the ceremony an emotional Roger Spencer, AMVETS commander, talked about the beginning of the Cpl. Humberto Sanchez Post #82621.

Briseño said that the AMVETS had a big place in her heart.

Misty Frost of the One Warrior Foundation said the turn out and support for Sanchez showed that the community has a true heart for military families and those on active duty.

Along with the statue of Sanchez and the artwork, the memorial designed by Caldwell Monument Company in Kokomo includes a QR code placed on the headstone that can be scanned with a phone. Visitors may use the code to leave a message for the family and learn more about Sanchez.