Peace Garden honors two fallen soldiers in Naperville

May 27, 2011 2:53:22 PM PDT
Naperville North High School honored two graduates who died while serving their country with a memorial on Friday.

The new memorial Peace Garden was dedicated in memory of Marine Corp. Anthony Mihalo and Staff Sgt. Andrew Pokorny.

"Many of you look at this garden and only see a bench some flowers and a couple huge rocks. I see something else. I see just a few marks in this world my brother has left behind," said Mihalo's sister Bobbie Wolfe.

Mihalo, a five-time Purple Heart recipient, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008 during his third tour of duty. Pokorny, who earned the soldier's medal, lost his life in Iraq in 2003 while trying to save a fellow soldier.

"We, of course, remember every day, but to know that other people appreciate what Tony and Andy did is very nice," said Pokorny's mother Marie Pokorny.

The senior class of 2011 gifted the six-stained glass panels honoring the garden's message. Two peace poles sponsored by student multicultural groups were also presented. They were placed next to the two stones that represent the sacrifice of the men, who both graduated from the high school in the 1990s. Each pole expresses the desire for peace in 16 different languages.

The effort to honor Tony and Andrew began five years ago. Project co-organizer Jenne Dehmlow said, "If you know high school kids, you know them as your pseudo sons and daughters, so to lose one or two, or God forbid more, it has an impact."

The mothers of the two men added another symbol of love to a separate outside memorial before current students placed peace crains as their commitment to walk in harmony.

"Remember one lone simple American can make a difference. Please choose to do so," said Kevin Pobst with Naperville North High School.

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