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Entries in grand marshal (1)

Saturday
Jul022011

Fourth of July Honors for Widow, Infant Son in Holiday Parade

Comstock(LEWISBURG, Tenn.) -- While most Fourth of July parades opt for a celebrity grand marshal, in Lewisburg, Tenn., parade chairman Jamie Bone wanted his grand marshal to be someone different, "someone who has truly made a difference in the world."

So he called 22-year-old Crissie Carpenter, who became a widow and a single mother in February when her husband, a Marine, was shot in Afghanistan.

"At first I was unsure if I wanted to do it," Carpenter said. After thinking it over for a couple of days, she decided, "It's an honor for me to do it for Andy."

On Valentine's Day, Crissie received word that her husband, a lance corporal, had been shot in the neck while serving in Helmand Province, put on a ventilator and transported to Germany.

Just five days later, Crissie Carpenter was overwhelmed with a difficult decision: "I had to say it's O.K. to turn off the ventilator," she said.

Andrew Carpenter, age 27, died Feb. 19, and three weeks later his wife gave birth to a boy, Landon -- a name they had picked together.

Bone said more local organizations and businesses have joined the Lewisburg parade this year because of Crissie Carpenter.

"We've had a tremendous response," he said. "We're expecting this to be the largest parade we've ever had."

It's a bright note for Lewisburg, a small town that's less than an hour from Nashville. Like many towns in America, it's been struggling with high rates of unemployment.

During the procession Carpenter will ride with her son in a horse-drawn wagon followed by another wagon with the parade's honorary grand marshals: the families of three Lewisburg veterans who died in recent years.

Landon, Crissie's son, will be wearing a onesie that says, 'My Daddy Died for Our Freedom' and she, along with her family, will wear T-shirts with Andrew's name on it.

Although Carpenter says she is still angry about what happened to her husband, she wants her son to grow up knowing his dad was a hero. "In the sense that everybody is there for me, it does feel good," she said. "I hope Landon will one day be able to look back at it … to see that everyone came together … I would think he would be very thankful for what they did for me."

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