Jared died in Afghanistan two years ago, on October 27, 2009.
I remember what 103rd Street was like on the day of his funeral.
When I arrived, Rob was arranging for our use of 103rd again.
Rob is Senior Ride Captain (SRC) of the Illinois Patriot Guard Riders (ILPGR) for the Chicago area. Dave has been recently appointed Assistant Senior Ride Captain.
We paraded to the family home. We would then escort to the street dedication location.
Some of us wear the colors of Warriors Watch Riders. That was not the least bit important to the Stanker family.
The SRC for the ILPGR region just south of the Chicago region came too.
Two ILPGR SRCs.
I went ahead to the dedication location. There was frost on the grass.
The Illinois Patriot Guard (ILPG) was already in place and waiting for the ILPGR.
So was "the Wall".
ILPGR, ILPG, WWR,
people from the village, people from the neighborhood, people from the church,
all of one mind.
The firemen had a big flag in place.
The students from Brother Rice gathered under it.
Two years. The sorrow for Jared is perpetual, of course. But after two years of time, his magnificent service outshines his sacrifice.
Deacon Mark Phelan of Most Holy Redeemer Church was ready to bless the site.
We would stand quietly. Maybe this website will be read by historians a thousand years from now. May they know this: We were there to witness this moment. This is how we feel . This is the way Americans remember their fallen warriors.
Mayor James J. Sexton began the ceremony. Channel 5 and channel 7 both recorded the event.
The Deacon and the Mayor:
The Most Holy Redeemer Raiders:
And Jordan. Jared's sister.
His mother, Susan, is given the rope to pull the cover off the new street sign.
The mayor and his father, Kevin, look on.
Its not coming! Does she need a man's assistance?
And he was born again.
Risen, and he lives on.
"Amazing hero and precious son of Kevin and Susan Stanker, awesome brother of
Jordan (Brad) Brandl, first and forever love of Abigail Ruth Oman, adored
grandson of Catherine (the late Robert) Stanker and the late Donald (the late
Joan) Moonan, beloved nephew of Mary Beth (Robert) Ramos, John (Cathy) Moonan,
Robert (Kathy) Stanker, James (Terry) Stanker, Judy Stanker, Donna (Jeff)
Sizemore, Thomas (Jean) Stanker, loving cousin to Jessica Ramos, Cullin and
Madison Moonan, Robert (Tracy) Stanker, Sharon (Tony) Migacz, Luke (Ashley)
Stanker, Jackie Stanker, Jennifer (Will) Wille, Brian (Rebecca) McGowan, Karen
(Jared) Kowalczyk, Alecia Pehr, Kelsy, Kara and Katie Stanker, loyal and
cherished friend to all those he loved in his home and military lives. "
It was Easter in Autumn. We should have had colored eggs for these young Raiders. Coach Hogan will have to explain to them why we celebrated.
The funeral was over two years ago. Today we remember the good work Jared did in Afghanistan, and before that in Evergreen Park.
Mike Spongberg came from Alsip to be here. Sergeant Mike Spongberg, Jr. is busy elsewhere, keeping the world safe.
The sergeant met Jared at Fort Lewis in Washington state.
After the ceremony we walked across Circle Park to the Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall.
Jared's middle name is Don. My name is Don. And Gold Star father Don Pannier is the energy behind the wall.
The village was great. They provided the street and they provided the pastry service;
pastries supplied by Midwest Families and Supporters of Military Personnel, a FB group.
Gunnar, 10 days old.
Mother, Sarah Marshall, is the wife of Dillion, a Marine in Afghanistan. He will meet his son at Christmas.
And once again, Jared is the life of the party.
Then it was time to say good-bye.
And her mother Ashley.
I am a member, at least nominally, of the PGR, ILPGR, ILPG, WWR and FFFH.
Thank you Kevin, Susan and Jordan for including all of us.
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