Fallen soldier honored & remembered in Freedom Run

Published 06/15 2013 10:01PM

Updated 06/17 2013 03:07PM

LASALLE COUNTY -- Saturday, plenty of people showed one man's family his memory will live on forever. Each year, the Motorcycle Freedom Run honors those who've made the ultimate sacrifice. This year's ceremony paid tribute to a Vermilion County soldier.

Justin Penrod was killed in Iraq six years ago. WCIA-3's Megan Brilley shows us how his family now has something else to keep his memory flying high.

"He was a really good soldier."

This memory wall is where Christina and Collin Penrod come to remember. Collin was only eight months old when his dad, Justin, stepped on a bomb in Iraq and was killed.

"Daddy's in heaven."

Collin has no memory of him, but, Friday, thousands will the Illinois Freedom Run gathered in Marseilles to show the 6-year old just how important his dad was.

"A way to tangibly and visibly say one thing, 'Thank you.'"

The Penrod family was given the Honor and Remember Flag. It's one specifically flown for fallen soldiers.

"It's overwhelming to me. I did not expect it to be this big."

More than 2,000 people from around the country came to say thank you, not only to Justin Penrod, but all 7,600 names on the memorial wall.

"This is all of the daddies."

Collin might not have an actual memory with his dad.

"He asks about Justin everyday."

While this flag won't answer any of those questions, it will be something this family can always hold onto.

"I love him forever."

Penrod was a Danville native and a drill instructor at Lincoln's Challenge Academy. There's a plaque there honoring his memory.

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