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A Marine salutes during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” while standing guard next to a portrait of Sgt. Michael A. Marzano. Marzano’s parents, Albert B. Marzano and Margy E. Bons, can be seen with their hands over their hearts.

To Margy E. Bons, it seemed that her son, Michael A. Marzano, had wanted to be in the military since he was a baby.

His father, Albert B. Marzano, was a Marine, and young Michael, who could barely walk, would put on his dad’s uniform and trip over the too-large clothes, she said.

“He always talked about being a Marine,” Ms. Bons said.

To know that their son lived out his dream was only partially comforting for Ms. Bons of Desert Hills, Ariz., and Albert Marzano of Greenville, who attended Saturday’s dedication of the renaming of the Mercer County Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic in Hermitage in honor of their son, a Marine sergeant.

“I would rather have him here than be here for this,” Albert Marzano said.

But, both parents said they were honored that their son was being memorialized for his service.

“It helps to keep talking about him,” Ms. Bons said. “It keeps his legacy alive.”

“I know he would be proud of this,” Albert Marzano said.

Marzano, 28, a Greenville native and 1995 graduate of Sharon High School, was killed in a suicide bomber attack May 7, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq.

Marzano was the first soldier from Mercer County to die in the war on terror.

“I have read the report of his commanding officer,” said U.S. Rep. Phil English, Erie, R-3rd District, who introduced the renaming bill in the House. “His heroism saved the lives of a number of people in his company.”

The renaming was a lengthy process bogged down in congressional politics, but English and Jason Altmire, Wexford, D-4th District, said the unanimous support of Mercer County veterans advocates led to the passage.

“Thank you for keeping the faith and helping us to make this dream a reality,” English said.

English presented Marzano’s parents copies of the renaming legislation and pens that President Bush used to sign it.

“We’re here because Michael earned the right to have his name on this building,” Altmire said.

Two Marines escorted Marzano’s parents to a place below the American, military, state and prisoner of war flags, where his portrait was unveiled, and then taken inside the clinic to be hung.

“We are gathered here to honor a young man who honored us with his life and his service,” said Gary G. Solander, Mercer County director of veterans affairs. “Michael Marzano gave his life for his country in the service of freedom, which is the very highest payment any human being can make.”

The event was attended by 200 to 300 people, including members of Veterans of Foreign Wars posts from all over Mercer County, members of the Yellow Ribbon Families support group, and local, county, state and federal elected officials.

Albert Marzano, a Vietnam War veteran who gets medical care at the clinic, said Vietnam War-era friends and acquaintances came from as far away as Texas for the dedication.

Speaking of the VFW attendees, he said: “I expected maybe the local one. I didn’t expect all of them. That was very nice.”