Wreath-Laying Ceremony Honors Army Ranger Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers

CHICAGO (AP) — Military, public safety and community leaders gathered Monday at a downtown Chicago monument for Memorial Day commemorations. It’ll include a tribute to a soldier from central Illinois killed in Afghanistan in April.

The sponsors of the event, the Chicago Cultural Mile Association, said the wreath-laying and rededication ceremony Monday will be at the General John A. Logan Monument in Grant Park. The Civil War general was a founder of Decoration Day, which later became known as Memorial Day.

The tribute is to Army Ranger Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, of Bloomington. The Department of Defense has said the 22-year-old was killed during a raid on an Islamic State militant compound in eastern Afghanistan.

His mother and sister laid a wreath for him at the Logan statue in Grant Park. WBBM’s Steve Miller reports.

“It has, obviously, new meaning to me this year than it has ever had before,” said Vonda Rodgers speaking about Memorial Day.

Vonda Rodgers’ son Josh was killed in Afghanistan just over a month ago, apparently by friendly fire.

“I now understand what the price of freedom is,” Rodgers said. “It’s probably ironic that I had a son who was a Ranger in the Special Ops Force and I hadn’t allowed myself – I guess – to really think about what the price of freedom could be or would be.”

She says people shouldn’t feel sorry for Josh.

“He understood his purpose in life and he was living it out,” Rodgers said.

Among those taking part in the commemorations was Chicago police and the ROTC from Senn High School.

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