One of the early stops in this year’s Gold Star 500 is in Farmer City, which should provide the 20 or so cyclists the boost they need on their five-day, 530-mile journey.

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Saturday’s ceremony in Tuscola will not only commemorate 9/11 but hundreds of the state’s service members who have died since that day 20 years ago.

The Gibson City native, whose body had been buried in Europe for nearly three-quarters of a century after he fell during World War II fighting between U.S. and German forces in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, now rests beside his family.

Today, the six men from Rantoul — Joe Manka (Army), Colin Kopman (Navy), Les Little (Army), Steve Carpenter (Marines), Bernie Calhoun (Army) and John Johnson (Air Force) — will wrap up their four-day, early-morning, hot-as-all-get-out, no-perks-necessary run at Half Century of Progress.

With the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attacks on U.S. soil now 20 days away, community members present and past share their 9-11 memories in an N-G miniseries. First up: Angela Urban, Damir Krupalija, Judy Fraser, R. Turner-Winston, Vashoune Russell, Jeff Wooten, Sandra Casserly, Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, Rachel Schroeder, Rick Shields and Becky Preston.

“I’ve flown it off the back of Humvees, armored vehicles in firefights in Iraq, at half mast over various camps for fallen service members on numerous occasions,” Ben Thomann says. “It’s been with me, either in my bag or on the back of my body armor, since 2003.”

Rebecca Rutledge, the vice-commander of the Paxton Prairie Post 150 of the American Legion, said she needs three people from county organizations to serve on that board, and if in support, the veterans board must formally notify the county board that it wishes the commission be created.

The group was present to see Martin receive a quilt from the Quilts of Valor program, which goes to active duty and veterans of the military who have served in war zones.

Hundreds lined the streets between Monticello High and the courthouse square Saturday, clapping, cheering and waving to the 40 entries that traversed the route of the Honor Parade. Said Bill Schield, who made the trip with Pipes and Drums of the Chicago Police Department: “It's awesome to be down here, have thin blue line flags everywhere, everybody's wearing 703 shirts. It's really cool."

The humongous U.S. flag that flies outside LS Building Products on certain holidays is a result of an in-house patriotic push. About four years ago, employees ponied up to purchase the oversized Old Glory that can be easily spotted atop a company boom truck on Memorial Day, Fourth of July an…

By the time Jeff Brown stepped outside to take part in “Taps Across America,” Sidell Fire and Rescue personnel had joined the ceremony with a rig that included an American flag hanging from its extended ladder.