ST. JOSEPH – When County Road 2200 E near St. Joseph becomes Cory Hubbell Way on Saturday afternoon, the fallen soldier's mother wants all veterans to be honored.
"They all need to be remembered the same," Connie Bickers said. "They're all heroes."
The dedication starts at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bickers' home at 1805 County Road 2200 E in St. Joseph. (The road is the main thoroughfare leading north from St. Joseph toward Flatville.)
The ceremony will honor Spc. Hubbell, who died in Kuwait in 2003 of respiratory problems.
The festivities will include an appearance from Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn.
"Our nation owes a permanent debt of gratitude to those fallen soldiers who have given their last full measure of devotion to our democracy," Quinn said in a written statement.
It will also include the playing of taps and a 21-gun salute in honor of Spc. Hubbell.
Ron DuFrane of the Champaign County Veterans Association said such a dedication is an important way to remember Spc. Hubbell.
"I just think of the sacrifice that he made – and his family made – in his dying for his country," DuFrane said. "We need to honor that."
And though Bickers knows the ceremony will be rough, she said she'll get through it.
"One foot in front of the other, just like I do every day," Bickers said.
Her son was a jokester. A man full of life with tons of friends. He never told his parents he was scared about serving overseas. He graduated from Urbana High School in 2001.
Volunteers, including The Military Moms Prayer Group, will provide a lunch at the Bickerses' home. Connie Bickers will also display her room dedicated to Cory, which includes his fatigues and deep green dress uniform, as well as quilts, portraits and poems in honor of Spc. Hubbell. He was 20 when he died.
The idea for renaming the street came when her family created a memorial for Spc. Hubbell in their front yard three years ago.
"Wouldn't it be nice to have the road named after him with the memorial out there?" Connie Bickers said she thought. The memorial features a flagpole, red and blue gravel and a tile picture of Spc. Hubbell in his dress uniform. Bickers will never finish adding to it, just as she will never fully recover after losing him.
"You learn to deal, but there's never any more normal," Bickers said.
And though she's a little nervous and plenty excited for Saturday's dedication, she's ready to convey what it means not just for her fallen son.
"It's not just for Cory," Bickers said. "This is for all of our soldiers."