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Remembering Reddington 50 Years Later

SCRANTON -- A crowd came together in Scranton to honor a marine 50 years after he was killed in Vietnam

As time has gone on, more and more people have participated in remembering Lance Corporal James Reddington.

Reddington's story is one of those that gets brighter and more detailed as time goes on because more and more people have lent their voices to it.

The 19-year-old Marine from Scranton was killed on this 50 fifty years ago. Those who served with him in Vietnam say they want it to continue to feel like yesterday.

Fellow Marines, friends from the neighborhood, even total strangers flocked to Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton outgrowing the snow-free spot cleared for them around one plot.

LCpl. James Reddington was killed in Vietnam on March 23, 1967.

This part of Reddington's story started more recently, thanks, in part, to Charlie Boylan who admittedly forgot about his childhood neighbor until seeing Reddington's name on a Vietnam memorial ten years ago.

"He had nobody, and he was very popular," said Charles Boylan. "If there was a real Fonzie in real life, it was him. And from there they told me about the Marines that had been coming in by themselves asking about anybody visiting his grave."

So started a tradition. Boylan linked up with three of Reddington's Marine brothers who had been visiting the burial plot since the early 1990s.

"I mean, we all had a chance to come back to what they call the world, you know, and to buy the little house and white picket fence and everything else. He never had that opportunity. So, I think each and every one of us have an obligation to carry on his memory because he doesn't," said Vietnam veteran Brad Varney.

These men knew Reddington for three months and they now gather at his grave four times a year.

"Three months is a lifetime, three months in combat is a lifetime," said Vietnam veteran Joseph Silvestri.  "To me, those three months I was with him, I was there almost a year, but that time to me means so much. It's closer than relatives, let's put it that way. It's family."

That kind of bond is never broken and this name will never be forgotten again.

"They say that when you think of somebody, he's still alive. And that's what it's all about, to remember him. He was kind of forgotten and he's not now as you can see."

This was the first of the four planned visits to LCpl. Reddington's grave in Scranton. The Marines will come back around Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Christmas.

They welcome anyone who wants to tag along.