At 3 p.m., David Petsche paused for a moment of silence to remember his son and all those who have died in service to our country.
"It's not getting easier, dealing with it, maybe, accepting it, living with it; it gets a little more tolerable, but getting easier, no," says Petsche.
But each day, David works to keep his son's spirit alive, a spirit that has touched the lives of those in the Lena community and beyond. Last summer, a butterfly garden at Lena Winslow Elementary School that David designed was dedicated in Neil's name. David then constructed this patio as an Eagle Scout project. Neil cleaned up and refurbished the grotto next to the family's parish.
"He said he wished he had more time to put a patio in front of the grotto, so after I got done with the school last year, I started what was supposed to be just a simple little patio. But it took a life of its own, and it's full of life, just the way Neil like it," says Petsche.
David says he did these projects for Neil, but with every flower planted and every stone placed, it's helped David and the community with the healing process.
"This one brought a lot of peace in the fact that Neil was here with me when I was doing this, so a simple little patio turned out to be a little more," says Petsche.
David says his hope is that on Memorial Day, and every day after, we will remember the sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made for our freedoms.
"As parents, we have a job and a duty to raise our young people so that they have the moral background and the intelligence and the wisdom to make the decisions to choose what they're going to do with their life, Neil's choice led this way, but he had the background and the information to make this choice. We have to respect those that are serving," says Petsche.
On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Sacia presented the first scholarship under the Lance Corporal Neil Petsche Scholarship Fund, Brianna Martinez, a senior at Lena Winslow High School, received $500 to further her education.