A lot of people are busy this week making preparations to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but sometimes we need a reminder of what memorial day is all about.
A Marine from Scranton was killed 45 years ago in Vietnam, but this time every year, friends who were with him when he lost his life come to pay their respects to Jimmy.
The tribute to Jimmy Reddington comes 45 years after he was killed in Vietnam, but all this time later, that 19-year-old still has friends who won’t forget.
They have made it a tradition to gather graveside every year at Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton to honor Reddington’s sacrifice.
“It’s an honor, it’s really an honor, for these guys to come that were friends with him, to come here and pay homage to Jimmy. It’s a great honor,” said friend Joe Silvestri of the Philadelphia area.
He is the one who felt drawn to find Reddington’s grave years ago. He and Jimmy were close in Vietnam. Joe was crushed when his friend was killed.
Once he found the grave he started coming often. Now, other Marines and some who knew Jimmy in Scranton join him.
“Because I have to remember him. He was my friend and I want to make sure that he knows, well he knows that, but I want to make sure people don’t forget him,” Silvestri added.
For years, friends said no one really knew where Reddington was buried. His grave was seldom visited. Now, not only do they come for Memorial Day, but numerous times a year to remember Jimmy and his sacrifice for this country.
“When we first started coming up here, nobody would come. This is a real good tribute. It has certainly brought a lot of his friends together,” said friend Brad Varney. He also served with Reddington. He’s been coming with Joe Silvestri for years.
Both said being there makes it hard to believe Jimmy, Lance Corporal James Reddington, was killed 45 years ago.
“It seems like yesterday, the memories never go away. Over the years you learn to deal with them, but they never go away,” Varney added.
Neither does the love of a friend who died so young.
“He went in the Marine Corps to do something that he wanted to do for his country and he gave his life for it,” Varney said.
Some of Reddington’s friends from Vietnam not only visit his grave around Memorial Day, they come at Christmas time and in March, to mark the day Lance Corporal Reddington lost his life.