Denver Parade honors fallen soldiers, first responders - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Denver Parade honors fallen soldiers, first responders

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DENVER (KWWL) -

As the Memorial Day parade stepped off in Denver, Iowa, Kent Larsen had his mind on the past.

"My younger brother died 27 years ago this past Thursday, on Memorial Day weekend," he said.

Every year, the Larsen family gathers to remember Craig, who was killed in a motorcycle crash. This year, they were joined by a few others.

"This last year has been an empty spot in our family," Bruce Piehl said.

Piehl's brother, Russell was a paramedic near Mason City. He was killed in a medical helicopter crash in 2013.

"This whole town has been struck with a lot of young deaths and tragedy," Larsen said.

Monday, Piehl was honored, along with other fallen first responders. While Memorial Day celebrations are often first about honoring soldiers killed on active duty, Larsen said since 9/11, the Veterans Benefit Association has included first responders as well.

"Because, our military members feel that while they're overseas protecting our borders, the first responders are back here protecting theirs," Larsen said. "They put their lives on the line for the community every time they take a call, so what we're doing today is honoring what they call their last walk, or last call."

A multi-agency honor guard walked the parade, carrying the names those that didn't make it.

For Piehl's family, that inclusiveness hit home.

"It's a really great feeling, and I don't think anyone needs to be forgotten," B. Piehl said. "Especially when it comes to our first responders ... I don't think Russ will be forgotten in a long time."

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