A huge thank you to Illinois Valley Cellular Telephone Company for establishing this memorial.
On June 19th, 2004 a Granite Memorial Wall was dedicated commemorating the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in worldwide conflicts since 1979. The project was conceived by Jerry Kuczera and Tony Cutrano and built with donated material and labor and is the first of its kind, in the History of the United States, to give honor to our fallen by name while a conflict is ongoing. It took 20 years to Honor our Vietnam Veterans. Almost 60 years to Honor our World War II Veterans. The names on the wall represent our fallen heroes from such diverse locations as Panama, Lebanon, the Balkans, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, USS Cole, USS Stark, Terrorist attacks in Italy, Greece, Scotland, and the current conflicts in the Middle East.
The Wall is located at 200 Riverfront Drive in Marseilles, Illinois.
The Purpose of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run is to show our brave Servicemen and Women, and their Families, that we support them, and to Honor Fallen Heroes. The route is lined with Americans waving American Flags and paying tribute. In the past we have had 10′s of thousands of participants. The money raised through you generous donations is used to update and maintain the Memorial, and to put this wonderful event together.
The first Memorial we erected was in the small town of St Anne Illinois. the hometown of Capt. Ryan A. Beaupre, one of Illinois first casualties in the war against terror. We have donated Memorials to all of the Veteran Homes and Hospitals in The State of Illinois in Honor of all our Veterans , Past and Present. We Have assisted many of our Fallen Heroes Children, with funds for their education, in hopes that through education, they will learn to diplomatically resolve their problems.
With parade, pomp and patriotism, the Marseilles community — helped by La Salle County area families and friends — wrapped their arms around nearly 60 soldiers who returned home from Afghanistan to a hero’s welcome Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of people lined both sides of the yellow ribbon-decorated Main Street with flags, signs and salutes for the troops from Company A of the 33rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The soldiers exited their buses to walk in formation through town as crowds cheered.
Escorted by screaming police cars and fire engines, the parade was short, yet felt long by anxious relatives waiting to personally greet their returning loved ones. Names were shouted from the crowd as the soldiers marched by proud and tall.”There’s Uncle Mike!” screamed four-year-old Aiden Schneider with his younger brother Jaxon as Staff Sgt. Mike Filipiak of La Salle came into view. The boys’ mother, Kristie Schneider of La Salle, beamed as she saw her brother in the formation. Filipiak had been deployed for 11 months.
Tears welled in the eyes of Rosemary Therriault as she caught sight of her son, Adam Therriault, of Wedron, as he passed down the street. The Yorkville mother said she was “excited, happy and very relieved” to know her son was home safe after his second deployment overseas. She said Adam had previously told her he wanted “a big fat burger” after he got home and she was going to see that he got one. Adam was employed as a painter for the family business, LeCuyer Painting and Decorating in Sandwich, before his mission began last winter.
Bobby Kaminski of BoominDJ of Marseilles played loud patriotic music as the parade moved south. Climbing back aboard the buses, the troops were followed by a procession of vehicles to a brief ceremony at the Marseilles Illinois National Guard Armory.
“The Illinois National Guard is proud of these soldiers and the state of Illinois should be proud of these men and women as well,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard.
Prayers were given for the nine soldiers within the battalion, which included Sgt. Chester W. Hosford who last lived in Ottawa, who were killed in Afghanistan.
Company A was one of several troop units from from the 33rd Battalion to return to Illinois over the weekend. Other units arrived in Litchfield, Machesney Park and Marion. Remaining soldiers from the combat team are expected to return stateside during the next few weeks.The battalion of 700 soldiers was the largest overseas deployment of the Illinois National Guard since World War II. Their missions throughout Afghanistan included security operations, police mentoring duties and embedded training team missions to instruct local Afghan troops.
When asked if there were any other Marseilles area relatives in the crowd waiting for returning family members, Patti Smith, Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, said, “Today, in a way, we’re all relatives.”
Video of Wall:
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