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Erin Vasselian left her job at Starbucks an hour early on Dec. 23, her mind swirling with thoughts of Christmas preparations and a husband stationed with the Marines half a world away in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.
The day was gloomy, with cold rain falling in Abington. The 27-year-old glanced out the window for no special reason, she recalled, and there they were. Two Marines in dress-blue uniforms, their expressions grim, heading for the front door of her house.
“I knew,” she said.
Her high school sweetheart, Sergeant Daniel Vasselian, had been killed that day with a sniper’s shot to the chest while patrolling the dusty tinderbox that is Helmand Province.
Forty-seven men and women from Massachusetts, members of the military, have died in the Afghanistan conflict.