Dozens of family members and friends quietly filed into Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Thursday to say goodbye to Petty Officer Michael Strange. The young Navy SEAL from Philadelphia was killed in Afghanistan in early August after Taliban forces gunned down a U.S. helicopter.
Michael Strange was just 25 years old when a rocket-propelled grenade struck about 50 miles outside of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. Strange, who grew up in Northeast Philadelphia, was into his third tour of duty and on a rescue mission with several other Navy SEALs. A total of 30 U.S. service members were killed in the attack.
In recent days, he was remembered by family as “an ordinary Philly kid who loved his cheesesteaks and the Eagles.”
Reading from a prepared statement, Maggie O’Brien, Strange’s aunt, said her nephew died doing what he loved. “He died serving alongside some of the finest men in this country we’ll ever see,” said O’Brien. “Not a day will pass where we won’t think of Michael and thank him for the ultimate sacrifice he made for us and for our country.”
Philadelphia lowered flags at city buildings to half-staff to honor Strange. He’s also being honored with a 21-gun salute.