NORWAY – To make the short walk from fallen soldier Corey Dan’s grave a celebration of his life, his family wants to line the path with donated flat stones during a special party May 20.
“It’s just to have something for ourselves in celebration of Corey’s life and achievements, in order to make this walkway for ourselves to his burial site a happy event,” Dan’s mother, Wanda Kilgore, said Wednesday.
Dan, an Army sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division, was killed March 13 in Iraq. He was 22 and grew up in Norway.
He is buried in a little forest clearing next to the Kilgore’s yard at 46 French Road. The path will be about 100 feet and stretch from the edge of the front yard to his grave.
Kilgore said she’s organizing the “rock party” Saturday, May 20, to coincide with Armed Forces Day, which was established in 1949 to honor members of the military for their service.
“Anybody – friends, family – anybody who wants to bring a flat stone and lay it in the pathway to his site is more than welcome,” Kilgore said. “Anybody that chooses to write on the stones, these will be set toward the outside of the path, so they’ll never be walked on, so it will remain forever in remembrance.”
Dan’s best friend, who’s still fighting in Iraq, has told Kilgore that he will find a stone from Iraq and deliver it to the Kilgore’s home when he returns.
“I will hold a special spot for that rock,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore said the party will be casual and have music.
A path to the site is available for the public to use to avoid the area where rocks will be laid.
Eventually when the weather improves, Kilgore said she’ll plant perennials and plants around Dan’s grave.
To reach French Road, take Shedd Road or Wiley Road, which are off Route 118 west of downtown Norway, and turn onto French Road. French Road runs between Shedd and Wiley roads.
“I can’t stress enough, that this is something that’s more upbeat, a little bit of celebration for him. The rocks from everywhere – that will be a great thing,” Kilgore said.
“It has been a rough road,” she added.