The family of a Charlotte Marine is sharing the story of their son, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country he loved.
The stars and stripes stand tall outside the Pier family home in Bostic, saluting a son and a brother taken far too soon.
Lance Cpl. Noah Pier had passion for life.
“He had a booming laugh -- loud. Yeah, he was loud,” his mother, Vikki, said.
His parents, Mark and Vikki, say he soaked in every second.
“He was proud of his cooking, he was a black belt in karate, he loved superheroes,” Vikki said.
One of 10 children, Noah was the oldest son. His instincts to protect his siblings grew into a fever for his country, and that's when he joined the Marines as a machine gunner.
Noah served in Iraq but never returned home from his 2010 tour to Afghanistan.
“It was Feb. 16, it was actually the morning. And we were packing a box for Noah,” Vikki said.
That moment, Marines came to their door.
“I asked them that question. I said, ‘This is what we heard: that if you called, Noah was hurt, and if you came to the door, Noah had been killed. Is that accurate information?’” she said. And they said, ‘Yes ma'am.’”
An IED claimed Noah's life. He was just 25. But his spirit is still very much alive.
Photos and mementos fill the Pier home, and they honor his sacrifice every year.
“On the 16th, we let go balloons and get together as family,” Mark said.
While the grief of losing Noah is never-ending, the Piers have comfort in knowing he wanted to fight for his country.
And now, his younger brothers consider following in his courageous footsteps.
“I want to know why -- why are you joining. And I want it to be the right reasons. That's what I pray for. Then I will have that to hang on to, that they're where they are supposed to be, just like Noah was,” Vikki said.
Noah's family will forever remember his reason and the patriotic sacrifice that makes him an American hero.
Noah's father said the heartbreaking experience of losing his son has shown him being a Marine isn't just a title, it's the most honorable fellowship of men he's ever seen.