WOOD RIVER, IL – Support flowed through Wood River, Illinois Saturday as 1,000 American flags lined Highway 143. It was all to honor three hometown heroes who went to war 50 years ago and never returned.
The highway was dedicated to Chris Totora, Richard Bennett and Jim Stassi, high school friends who all joined the United States Marine Corps together.
‘The boys all went to Vietnam, and within about six months they were all killed,” said Totora’s sister, Mary Roberts.
Jospeh Biro went to East Alton-Wood River High School with the men and joined the military around the same time. The Patriot Guard rider called it an “honor” to be able to show his support at the parade.
Roberts said she thinks her brother would’ve been “embarrassed by all the attention” the men received Saturday. However, supporters wanted the families of the fallen Marines to know they made a lasting impression.
‘Rick inspired me when he went over,” said Dennis Miller, a childhood friend of Bennett. “All three of them went over and lost their lives; I went and volunteered right away. So he was my inspiration to (join the Army).’
After the parade, a ceremony was held at the local V.F.W. Hall to continue the celebration of their lives and the impact they`ve had on their community.