Scenes from Westville’s Birch Fields dedication in honor of fallen soldier

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The new sign is unveiled.

Photos by Dennis Proud

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE)

Josh Birchfield

Joshua Birchfield

   Hundreds filled a sun-drenched Prairie Meadow Park in Westville on Saturday morning, May 29, 2010, as the baseball diamonds formerly known as Prairie Meadow Fields were renamed Birch Fields in honor of the late Lance Cpl. Joshua Birchfield.

   Westville native Birchfield, a Marine, died Feb. 19, 2010, in Afghanistan.

   It appeared that most of Westville’s residents, as well as many others from the area, turned out for Saturday’s ceremony. Birchfield’s family as well as some of his Marine comrades in arms were also on hand. Besides the ceremony, the day featured a softball tournament in his name in which the visiting Marines joined, as well as food, games and music.

   U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd District, was among speakers at the ceremony. Donnelly also honored Birchfield in a speech on Capitol Hill this past week. To view his remarks about Birchfield, click on the following link:

http://nwitimes.com/app/blog/news/?p=4503

   For more information on the Birchfield memorial, visit www.birchfieldmemorial.com.

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The huge crowd listens to a speaker.

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The late soldier's mother, Shelley Hacker (center), is moved by the ceremony. At left is Birchfield's stepfather Ron Hacker, at right is his sister Rachael Birchfield, and in background is family friend Jennie King.

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Many wore special shirts such as the one at left.

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The Color Guard approaches.

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U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (left) speaks.

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Veterans stand at attention.

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"Taps" is played.

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