CHICAGO (CBS) — A bridge in a Cook County forest preserve was dedicated to the memory of a U.S. Marine who died in Viet Nam 50 years ago.
The bridge is across from Schiller Woods – Forest Preserves of Cook County and runs over the Des Plaines River.
A rifle salute and the playing of Taps concluded the ceremony on Tuesday, marking the bridge as the “Corporal Donald W. Bollman Bridge,” who was killed in action on March 1, 1967.
Bollman’s younger brother, Jim, looked back at the time Cpl. Bollman was killed and called it, “Just a rough period — rough era. Many years have passed and I hope this is going to make it all better.”
Cpl. Bollman, Jim and another brother, Norman, were all stationed in Viet Nam at the same time. The two surviving brothers escorted their brother’s body home.
“There has never been a birthday or a holiday that we, as a family, haven’t toasted him as if he were still with us,” Norman said.
Cpl. Bollman had recently returned to Viet Nam after a month of R&R (rest and recuperation) in Japan when he was killed.
“It was like yesterday — little kids, coming to this forest preserve here, running around, coming to the river, riding our bikes,” Jim recollected.
State Rep. Mike McAuliffe says new technology will result in even more people knowing about Cpl. Bollman. “Just think of the people that are driving by that’ll read that name, will Google his name and see what he’s about, what happened to him.”
State Sen. John Mulroe also addressed the Bollman family at the ceremony, saying, “This is just an event, hopefully, that’ll give you some comfort that people care and remember your brother.”
About 50 people attended the ceremony, including Cpl. Bollman’s three other surviving siblings, brothers Harold and Richard and sister, Carol Anne. A Marine honor guard was also on hand.
Additionally, the Ridgewood High School band played the Star Spangled Banner — Cpl. Bollman was an alumnus of the school.