Memorial Day has always been a time to commemorate the fallen from all of our nation's wars. The latest war, Operation Enduring Freedom, took the life of Belvidere native Branden Ramey. On Saturday, the community that Branden loved took his memory in a whole new direction.
Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton says, "For the next 12 months this section is now known as Branden Ramey Memorial Drive."
This is a timely and fitting tribute to one hometown hero. Branden had intended on spending the rest of his life driving throughout the streets of Belvidere, but instead U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Branden Ramey's Humvee was hit and the 22-year-old Marine was killed in Iraq in November.
Branden’s father, Randy Ramey, states, "He was born here, grew up here and spent his entire life here. He was proud to call this home, so I'm sure this would have meant a lot to him."
For the next year Main Street from Logan Avenue to Lincoln Avenue will be known as the Branden Ramey Memorial Drive.
Branden’s mother, Pam Trevino, talks about how, "People will have time, every time they pass it to reflect and remember who he was and what he stood for and the values he preserved."
Family and friends flew in from all over to be at this special dedication. Others in attendance didn't even know Branden. All they knew was that he had traveled down a very dangerous road so we would all be safe.
Randy says, "A father's always proud of his son and I have every reason to be proud of my son. It makes me proud that the community thinks so much of him."
Pam said much of the same.
"I think the people of Belvidere have not only honored him but they've honored me by preserving his memory," she says.
A gold star medallion was also presented to Branden's family Saturday morning. Branden's mom, Pam, tells us she is still getting cards and donations to the Branden Ramey Scholarship Fund daily.