vietnam-traveling-wall

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute's Traveling Wall.  

Submitted photo

BLOOMINGTON — A new section devoted to veterans and their families at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery will be named for a Bloomington soldier killed in action earlier this year.

The U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers Veterans Field will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Aug. 26.

“We asked Sgt. Rodgers’ family for permission to name the new area for their son and they agreed,” said Gaye Nichols, a cemetery administrative assistant. “His mother has agreed to speak that day and we should have a very nice ceremony and we are so proud to name this area for this brave soldier who gave his life in the line of duty.”

A monument commemorating the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall, which bears the names of military personnel lost or missing in the Vietnam War and was on the site a year ago, will be officially dedicated, Nichols said. A large granite marker will mark the spot on the southeast corner of the cemetery where the wall was located and the new veterans area begins.

Rodgers is buried in the new section along with one other veteran, Nichols said. Rodgers would have turned 23 next Tuesday.

Rodgers was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 27 along with fellow Ranger Cameron Thomas of Ohio. Rodgers graduated from Normal Community High School in 2013.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute Memorial Wall, an 80-percent scale representation of the memorial in Washington, D.C., was on the grounds last August. Thousands viewed the wall and attended daily ceremonies.

“It was a big effort, but very well-received and it took a great deal of time and energy to raise the funds to bring it here,” she said. “After everything was done and paid for, we decided we should use the remaining funds to construct a monument to commemorate that great experience.”

The Bloomington-Normal American Legion Honor Guard will be on hand for the dedication ceremony, Nichols said.

“We are hoping we get a nice response from the public, but are especially encouraging our veterans to attend this special event,” she said.

Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer for The Pantagraph.

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