- Associated Press - Sunday, May 25, 2014

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - Visitors to a northern Illinois memorial that lists the names of men who left Winnebago County to fight and die in Vietnam will be able to see their faces this Memorial Day.

On Monday, the Veterans LZ Memorial at Midway Village in Rockford will feature what is called the “Faces of Courage” display that includes photographs of 79 area servicemen killed in Vietnam, the Rockford Register Star (https://bit.ly/1jkgM3b ) reported.

“It’s a real punch to see the faces of these young men,” said Nancy Bloomstrand, a regent with a local Daughters of the American Revolution group, which spent a year searching for photographs and mounting them inside a wood-framed display case. “They were very young … and the pictures are wonderful.”

One measure of the difficulty of putting faces to the names is that even after a year, the group is still searching for 15 more photographs.

One picture the group found was of Corporal Jerry W. Wickam. On Jan. 6, 1968, the 25-year-old Rockford native charged the enemy and protected his men, including one he pushed away from an exploding grenade, before he was killed.

His heroism earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. He died with a photograph if his young son in his pocket.

Nick Parnello is the president of local Vietnam veterans’ group that built the memorial, which was dedicated in 2005. He said the photographs could help a healing process that is still part of veterans’ lives and the lives of those whose loved ones were killed in the war.

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Information from: Rockford Register Star, https://www.rrstar.com


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