VIDEO: Friends, Family Honor Fallen Soldier Robert Marchanti
Close to 2,000 people attended a two-day memorial ceremony for the Army major at a church in Lutherville.
Maryland Army National Guard Maj. Robert Marchanti's children said he was a big man with an even bigger heart.
Son and daughter, Aaron and Leah Marchanti, spoke to media outside of Trinity Assembly of God church in Lutherville, following a two-day memorial to honor their father who was killed while serving in Afghanistan on Feb. 25.
The siblings said they will remember the way he loved their mother the most.
"Ever since they met in high school, he's just loved her with every little bit of himself and there's a lot of him, so he loved her a lot," Leah Marchanti said.
More than 1,500 people attended the memorial Sunday night with hundreds more gathering at the church Monday morning. A vigil was held in Dundalk shortly after news broke of Marchanti's death.
Marchanti worked as a physical education and special education teacher in Baltimore County public schools from 1990 to 2008. He later joined the military full-time before deploying to Afghanistan in September 2011.
"He really touched so many people. It's hard to put into words exactly how he did it," said Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, a Maryland National Guard spokesman. "So many people's lives from students to soldiers to everybody that he met."
Marchanti's mission while based in Afghanistan was to mentor the Afghan National Police to improve operations, Kohler said.
The funeral will be held today, with internment scheduled to take place Tuesday morning at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.
"Marchanti's family is asking that memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project. Attn: Donor Services, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Fla. 23356," writes WBAL's Robert Lang.