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Remembering Joshua P. Rodgers, hero and son

  Vonda and Kevin Rodgers hold a picture of their son, Josh.
Vonda and Kevin Rodgers hold a picture of their son, Josh.

Joshua P. Rodgers knew that he would spend his life fighting for this country. He grew up in the shadow of 9/11. His mother, Vonda, remembers Rodgers always turning his face to the sky when planes flew overhead. As a boy, he dressed up in camouflage and played “army” while hidden in the grass.

When Rodgers enlisted in the Army following his graduation from Normal Community High School, he took a first step toward fulfilling a lifelong ambition. He would go on to join the Army Rangers, an elite unit of highly trained soldiers. Rodgers was on his third tour in Afghanistan when his regiment took heavy enemy fire in Nangarhar Province. Rodgers was leading his team. He was shot in the leg and stopped long enough to tie his own tourniquet before charging back into the fray. The next shot was fatal.

Joshua Rodgers was 22 years old when he was killed on April 27, 2017.

As the country prepares to remember its fallen soldiers this Memorial Day, Vonda and Kevin Rodgers shared memories of their heroic son – a man who they say became exactly the person he always wanted to be.

Listen to their interview on Sound Ideas by clicking the button at the top of the story.

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Sarah Nardi is a WGLT reporter. She previously worked for the Chicago Reader covering Arts & Culture.
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