Military family honored in Orland Park

June 17, 2010 9:50:20 PM PDT
Patriotism runs deep in the Presley family of southwest suburban Orland Park.

Corporal William Presley recently returned from serving in Iraq.

His sister, Private First Class Angela Presley, is preparing to deploy.

Both siblings were saluted Thursday night.

It was a patriotic night in New Lenox. Flags flew as a white limousine with two marines pulled up: two marines who share a special bond.

The Warrior Watch Riders welcome home Corporal William Presley, who recently served in Iraq.

The other marine was his 19-year-old sister. His service inspired her.

"Makes me respect him more as a person, an older brother, as my superior in the Marine Corps," said Angela Presley. "I just feel an overwhelming amount of respect for him."

The bikers, vets themselves, share that respect, and thank the Presleys, one by one.

"Freedom has a price, and some pay the ultimate price - their life," said Vietnam veteran Rodell Jones.

The bikers escort the Marines to the New Lenox American Legion, where a ceremony is held in their honor.

"A lot of other veterans here didn't receive the same welcome I'm getting here, so it feels really good," said William Presley.

The service members are recognized and given certificates of appreciation.

"My era, the support wasn't there," said Marine Corps veteran Dave Merten. "So now we're able to support the troops and show them we care about what they're doing."

The Presleys' mother, Linda, beamed nearby.

"It's been a blessing to both of them," said mother Linda Presley. "I can see how wonderful the training has been and the effect it has had on them, and their self-discipline, and their outlook."

It is a transition for the Presleys.

William Presley is headed to college this fall, and his sister, Angela, now has orders to Okinawa, Japan.

The siblings never talked about Angela's decision to join the corps.

"She didn't talk to me before she did it; she just kind of did it without my permission," said William Presley. Asked if he felt like he was a protective brother, he said, "I was at first, but I know she can handle it. I'm really proud of her now."

It's a decision her parents know will serve her well as they welcome home their son and send off their daughter.

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