Monday, May 30, 2005

Re-Memorial Day

Some local items honoring heroes past and present ...

Living Memorial Day every day -- Last Memorial Day, Cpl. Christopher Zimny visited his parents, Ted and Barbara, in Glenview, enjoying the three-day weekend before heading back to Iraq. On Memorial Day this year, his parents plan to visit his grave. For the Zimny family, the holiday is not a kickoff to summer, but a time to remember their son, beginning with a pre-Memorial Day gathering at the Marine's former high school in Glenview.

Readers share Memorial Day heartfelt wishes -- The following are a few comments I received after Friday's column. In it, I talked about how Memorial Day shouldn't be just another day off, the importance of supporting our troops and my decision to fly the flag and then not to.

Marines don't stay at home -- Marine Sgt. Sean Arnold didn’t have to spend the past eight months away from his family and friends. He didn’t have to quit his job and give up college to ride scout on the back of a light-armored vehicle on the outskirts of Fallujah during last year’s offensive in Iraq.

Making a difference - here and there -- On the Riverwalk in front of the flagpoles is the Naperville Roll of Honor Memorial, listing all city residents killed in this nation's wars. The names are etched in gold on a black background surrounded by a gold border. When the sun hits the names, they stand out prominently, as befitting those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day is a time of reflection for survivors to think about and honor fallen family and friends. To them, the names on the plaque go beyond that rightful place of honor where they reside. They represent people who were part of their lives. With this year being the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, we tell the story of one of the names on the plaque. Ed Sieben was the first Naperville resident killed in Vietnam. And this was his journey, which took him from the joys of high school days and achievement on the track and basketball court to a world on the other end of the spectrum from then small-town Naperville.

Couple begins scholarship in memory of fallen Aurora Marine -- John and Pat Heneghan never met Hector Ramos. What they knew of the young man, they read in the paper. That the 20-year-old East High graduate was one of 30 U.S. Marines killed in January when their helicopter crashed in a sandstorm near the volatile town of Rutbah. That Hector Ramos — honor roll student, theater star, marketing club president, loving brother, son and friend — was one of Aurora's finest young men.