In August, Marine Lance Cpl. Norman W. Anderson III married his high school sweetheart, Tori, and they spent their honeymoon in a hotel at the Inner Harbor.
Less than two months later, his widow, his parents, Robyn and Norman II, and his sister went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to retrieve the body of the Camp Lejeune-based Marine.
Anderson, 21, of Parkton, Md., was killed Wednesday by a suicide bomber in Iraq, the Pentagon said Thursday. He died after a car bomb exploded in Karabilah.
The mission of Anderson's unit was to prevent insurgents from crossing into Karabilah, a town on the Syrian border, the department said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Anderson, a graduate of Hereford High School who was a running back on the football team, joined the Marines in 2002. The school was to honor him with a ceremony before last night's football game.
"He was very, very humble and always carried himself as a Marine," his godmother, Susan Isensee, told WBFF-TV in Baltimore on Thursday night. "He didn't like a lot of pomp and circumstance; he didn't want a bunch of attention."
Anderson always knew he would join the military, like his father, a retired Army Ranger, Isensee said.
"He wanted to be a soldier since he was 8 years old," Isensee said. "Even in his childhood, that's all he really talked about. And as soon as he was able, he signed up."
When he joined his division in June 2003, Anderson was a rifleman. He was first deployed to Afghanistan, his godmother said.
"I can't even imagine what kind of void there's going to be in their lives," she said of his family. "I know he always honored his family, and they were always proud of him."