Cpl. Daniel Lasko lost his leg after suffering a severe injury while serving in Afghanistan with the Marine Corps. The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team played at Mason Friday, Sept. 2, against the Diamond Dream Foundation.Photo by Stephen Kline

Moments before the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, a young Daniel Lasko stood in Harrisonburg, Pa., ready to take the oath of enlistment into the United States Marine Corps, swearing to protect his country.
He swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and he swore to bear true faith and allegiance to the red, white and blue.
Lasko was born in 1982 in Easton, Pa., and grew up an athlete, playing baseball at the high school level. He was well-equipped for the Marines at age 19 and made the decision to enlist, seeing it as an opportunity to serve his country.
Before beginning his enlistment, Lasko was sent home to be with his family until he could be transported south to Parris Island in Port Royal, S.C. After viewing the violent attacks, some individuals may have begun to rethink their decision to volunteer for military duty.
But not Daniel Lasko.
He boarded a bus to Port Royal and began the 13-week camp on Sept. 17, just six days after the attacks. He graduated from boot camp in January of 2002 and was stationed in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“Initially, my plan was to complete the standard four years of active duty and move on,” Lasko said in a recent interview with the website Our Military Heroes. “As I got further into my duty, I started to enjoy it. I was climbing up the ladder and gaining rank quickly in three years. Making it a career was now an option for me as I was gaining experiences, traveling and making new friends along the way.”
In 2004, Lasko was deployed with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit to Afghanistan.
After just one month in Afghanistan, Lasko was operating a machine gun aboard a seven-ton armored vehicle when it rolled over two improvised explosive devices, severely injuring his left foot.
“To me, it felt like a slow motion movie,” Lasko said. “Two bright flashes of light and then total darkness.”
Lasko spent over a year between the National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., enduring more than 15 surgeries on the leg before having it amputated below the knee.
In January 2009, he graduated from Northampton Community College where he majored in criminal justice. He spent time working for Rep. Allyson Schwartz. D. Pa., as a caseworker specializing in veterans affairs while competing in marathons and triathlons across the globe.
On Friday, Sept. 2, Lasko joined his teammates on the Wounded Warrior Amputee softball team on George Mason University campus to compete against the Diamond Dream Foundation. He has been a member of the team for two months, traveling the nation once a month to play softball.
“The first time I took the field with these nine guys, I got goose bumps,” he said. “I knew we were all the same. We are all veterans. We are all disabled. We all have amputations. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
Though Lasko and his teammates are no longer able to defend their county on the battle field, they have made it their mission to make the American public aware of the sacrifices and resilience of our military, proving they will rise above any challenge.
They received a warm welcome in Fairfax from fans, with respect and admiration in the forefront during Saturday’s game.
As the ten year anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 passes, so does the anniversary of the day that Corporal Daniel Lasko, one of the many brave men who have given everything to protect our country, gave his life to the United States Marine Corps.