Friends, family lay fallen Marine to rest in new veterans and fi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Friends, family lay fallen Marine to rest in new veterans and first responders memorial

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RICHLAND, WA - Following the public memorial for all veterans, friends and family of fallen Marine Sergeant Dietrich Schmieman celebrated his life - four months after he and 15 other service members were killed in a helicopter crash in Mississippi.

It was a beautiful ceremony, filled with both somber moments, but also smiles and a little bit of laughter as friends and family remembered Dietrich and laid his ashes to rest.

"Whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on those things." 

Words by Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman, and read today by his youth pastor. It is four months to the day since Dietrich died in a plane crash. The fact that today is also Veterans Day gives the day extra weight for Dietrich's family.

"I didn't appreciate veterans day nearly as much as I do now, as I'm sure you can imagine," said Dietrich's mother, Susan Schmieman. "I sent a card to a veteran which I've never done before; this has touched me in a very deep way and veterans day will never be the same for me again."

Family and friends have already spread some of his ashes on Mt. Rainier, and a couple of Dietrich's other favorite places. But today, they finished laying him to rest...interring the remainder of his ashes in the newly opened veterans and first responders memorial.

"It's beautiful. It's a place we can come to, and just meditate." 

And when the time comes, his parents will join him.

"We will be right here, and that's an honor for us to be able to share a space with Dietrich who served so selflessly for our country." 

Though his mother says this final step does bring her peace, she doesn't believe she'll be able to find real closure...at least for now.

"To lose a son, there will be closure when I see him again," she said. "Then there will be closure. But that's not really closure, is it?"

In a twist of fate, Susan tells us the space on the other side of Dietrich is now home to the father of a man Dietrich grew up with, so he will always have friends and family close.

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