Local veteran society braves rain to honor fallen heroes

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — While some Memorial Day events were cancelled this year for the stormy weather, one group refused to let rain stand in the way of honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them, so long as we live, so they too shall live,” Gold Star Mother Angie White read to the crowd at the LZ Peace Memorial.

Hands on hearts and with rain falling around them, families, friends and fellow comrades paid their respects to those who never made it home.

“To honor and respect the brothers on the wall,” Vietnam Veteran Nick Parnello said.

At the memorial, Parnello remembered his fallen comrade.

“Just a special guy,” he said. “We were both 20 years old, and it’s hard to know that Al can’t have the life that I had.”

Parnello has led the Memorial Day service at the LZ Peace Memorial for 14 years

“This is a special day today because I’m actually turning over the reins,” Parenello said.

He’s passing the torch and tradition to the next generation of veterans.

“This memorial has a special place in this veterans heart and he has a special place in my heart… Sgt. Larry Orsborn,” Parnello said.

A familiar name if you read the 69 listed on the memorial.

“His name’s right there on that panel,” Larry Orsborn said, pointing to the memorial and the name Lawrence E. Osborn. “To know that he’s up there, it means everything in the world to me.”

Now, Orsborn carries his father’s legacy. To make sure no matter the weather, no one forgets the men and women who paid the ultimate price for freedom.

“We’ll be out here,whether it’s rain sleet snow ice, we can suffer suffer a little while,” Orsborn said.

Even though the LZ Peace Memorial remembers those who served in Vietnam, the ceremony welcomes families, friends and veterans who served in all U.S. conflicts.

Taylor Utzig

Taylor Utzig


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