LYNCHBURG, Va. – Every Friday, Lynchburg-area veterans gather at Monument Terrace in the Hill City to remember their times in war.
For one local family, being in the midst of all these military men and women was special.
“I’m pleased so many veterans want to share in remembering him,” Ginger Shannon-Young, a widow, said.
On March 15, 1964, 55 years ago,Shannon-Young got a telegram saying that her husband, Lt. Kenneth Shannon had died in Vietnam.
“Just total disbelief. He had only gotten there,” Shannon-Young said.
Shannon, a Huey pilot and Lynchburg native, had only been in Vietnam for six days before his plane was shot down.
The day before his mission, he wrote a letter to his wife, saying, "Tell the babies hello."
“He wanted a possum more of kids. When he knew he was going to Vietnam, he said, 'Let’s get pregnant then'. We didn’t,” Shannon-Young said.
The couple only had two children.
Laron D. Ferris III was 4 years old when his father died.
He was too young the to understand, but now he's wise enough to hold onto the stories.
“My mom wouldn’t tell me until I was in my early 30s that my dad stole the mascot from VMI,” Ferris, who is Shannon’s son, said. “His sense of humor, his smile he became more than just pictures on a mantle.”
The veterans at Monument Terrace supported the Shannon family members as they laid a wreath to honor and remember the fallen solider.
“You know he’s got to be happy. Oh, yeah, he’s happy, very touched that he’s being remembered 55 years, later not just by the family, loved ones, but also people who never knew him,” Steve Bozeman, a veterans' activist in Lynchburg, said.
Five decades later, Shannon’s widow said it’s good to know the support is still there.
“Just honoring him, the memory, knowing he’s never forgotten,” Shannon-Young said.