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Harrisburg honors 242 fallen Saline County soldiers

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HARRISBURG (WSIL) -- The city of Harrisburg honored 242 Saline County residents who lost their lives in the service of the U.S. Monday.

18 years ago, veteran Don Cooper dreamed of this moment: to honor fallen soldiers in Harrisburg.

"I had dreams doing it. Then when I went to Arlington, I come back and I said, 'oh I'd like to see 'Little Arlington' in Harrisburg.' And I checked around, and there's not that many of them," he said.

The city and volunteers spent the last six months renovating 242 crosses for Monday's ceremony.

"I've been on the city council for 18 years and I've been coming out here all 18 years and today was probably the most satisfying ceremony that I've ever seen," said Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek.

The school district even set up a fundraiser to continue recognizing those who have served.

"It can be passed along every year and people can understand--the community can understand what it represents and keep continuing to make it better. If flowers needed to be planted, plant flowers. If we need another monument, put up another monument," said Larry Angelly.

McPeek says the city is already working on it's next project.

"Our plan is--we have names for all these 242 soldiers and we're having some little plaques made up and we're going to put plaques on the crosses," he said.

With proper social distancing, McPeek says the future looks bright for upcoming celebrations.

"I see our 4th of July celebration going on and we're going to celebrate our freedom, and make Harrisburg strong," he said.

Don Cooper was also honored with a statue and renamed "Little Arlington" park to Don Cooper Veteran's Park Little Arlington.

Maya Skinner

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