Cpl. Aaron Ripperda's body returns home to Highland, Ill.

9:47 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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By Elizabeth Matthews

HIGHLAND, Ill. (KSDK) - The body of a fallen Marine has come home. Cpl. Aaron Ripperda was killed in March month along with six other Marines during a training exercise in Nevada and on Monday he was honored and remembered in his hometown of Highland, Ill.

The streets were lined with flags and residents and the Marine's family was overwhelmed with the turnout.

Supporters and strangers filled the small downtown to wave goodbye to a fallen hero. Family on the sidelines found themselves overwhelmed with emotions.

"It's really hard right now and our hearts go out to our family of course and the other people who have lost loved ones," said Gloria Bleckle a relative of Corporal Ripperda.

She says they could not have asked for a better homecoming.

The town of Highland has had their fair share of them. Most recently, a homecoming of a different nature.

Pfc. Logan Wolf just arrived home over the weekend after nine months in Afghanistan.

"It's tragic that I got to come home this way, but another soldier has to come home, you know, this way," said Wolf.

His homecoming was on a lesser scale, but still the community showed their support.

"Part of me feels like maybe I shouldn't have had any signs up and everything should have gone to this Marine," said Wolf.

He says his heart goes out to the friends and family of this Marine and he's saddened by the loss. Also, that he hopes his arrival over the weekend was not hurtful to the Ripperda family.

"I understand that my family is happy to have me home, but I don't think I fully understand how this Marine's family might feel seeing those signs up of another family soldier in town being able to welcome me home with open arms," says Wolf.

The Marine's family is grateful to have a community like this to back them, one that comes together in times of great joy and great sorrow.

"It was a wonderful turnout and my nephew was hero and died for his country," said Bleckle.

Cpl. Ripperda's visitation is from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday at Meridith Funeral Home in Highland.

His funeral is Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church, also in Highland.

Cpl. Ripperda will be laid to rest Wednesday at the St. Mary's Catholic Church cemetery in Carlyle, Ill.


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