Retired Marine walks 13 miles to place flags honoring fallen service members

Elijah Shaw, who served two tours of active duty, walked along rural roads in Whitestown, Indiana. Photo of Shaw courtesy of Shelly Sack.

Jamie Blodgett | Contributing Writer

A retired Marine honored his fellow service members Sunday who lost their lives in Kabul during the withdrawal of the U.S. military from the country’s longest war. 

Elijah Shaw, a 26-year-old retired Marine, was seen carrying two flags, an American and a marine corps flag, while walking along the rural roads in Whitestown, Indiana. The flags were meant to honor the 13 service members who died on Aug. 26 at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The bombings also killed nearly 200 Afghani citizens at the airport who were waiting to be evacuated. 

These are the names of the 13 service members who died that day:

  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee
  • Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover
  • Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui
  • Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez
  • Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz
  • Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soziak
  • Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page

Shaw served six years in the Marines with two tours of active duty. He now spends his time with his family, and he is working on becoming an Indiana State Trooper in the coming future. 

Photo of Shaw kneeling courtesy of Sack.

The veteran sought to honor his fellow Marines and service members by walking 13 miles and placing an American flag at each mile. On each flag was the name, specialty and occupation of one of the fallen service members from Kabul. Shaw saluted each Marine before continuing his 13-mile excursion. The walk began in Whitestown and will end in Zionsville.

Shaw said “loyalty to the brotherhood” is what brought about his actions.

“It was weighing heavily on my mind,” Shaw said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow, and I couldn’t spend the day sitting on my couch.”

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