Street sign honors soldier killed in Iraq

A photo provided by Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn's office shows Army Pfc. Omar E. Torres, of Chicago. Torres, 20, died Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, when an explosive detonated near his unit. (AP Photo/Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn's Office)

April 2, 2013 3:41:01 PM PDT
Too often people forget those killed in combat. Now, a street sign will remind the neighborhood of Private First Class Omar Torres.

Six years ago, Torres, 20, was killed during combat in Baghdad. His parents, Oscar and Doris, were filled with pride and grief as an honorary street sign was unveiled in his name near 47th and Keeler.

"It's bittersweet, I would have to say. It's wonderful to have him recognized and honored on the street where he grew up but then once again he's not here to enjoy it," Doris Torres said.

"This is great. This is awesome. He was a great kid. I wish he was here with us. . . but again that's not going to happen," Oscar Torres said.

The tears haven't stopped flowing since the news of his death in 2007. On Tuesday, there was also cheering from students at Omar Torres School.

"He was an outstanding athlete at De La Salle High School. An outstanding student as well. He went on to Ohio State as an honor student. And left his studies in college to volunteer and join the Army where he lost his life in Iraq," Ald. Edward Burke, 14 Ward, said.

Torres was born on South Keeler, and that's where he learned to play softball, football and ride his bike. His funeral was held at a nearby church.

"He could have made a difference sometime, hopefully. But he's not here so we'll never see that part," Oscar Torres said after unveiling the honorary street sign.

"Seeing this sign on this street, I hope it always gets someone talking and remembering who he is and where he lived," Doris Torres said.

Omar Torres made a difference then, and now. Just ask the people around 47 th and Keeler.