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'The Way It Should Be': Groups Honor Fallen On 15th Anniversary Of Iraq War

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) - A small ceremony on the southern end of Civic Center Park marked 15 years since the Iraq War began, but the lack of crowds or even a band didn't matter to parents of Colorado's fallen soldiers.

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"We're celebrating all our fallen heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice giving them ultimate recognition," said Kevin Sonka, whose son David was killed in Afghanistan in 2013. "That's kind of our life mission anymore to make sure nobody is forgotten."

For the past month, the veteran's organization Boots 66 has been crisscrossing Colorado to hold ceremonies for all of Colorado's military members killed in action, saying a prayer and even cleaning the tombstone. The tour culminated with the event in Civic Center Park on Tuesday.

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"It's just inspiring to know no one is going to forget our sons or daughters either," said Misi Robinson Moser with the Pikes Peak Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers.

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CBS4's Jeff Todd interviews Victoria Nevins. (credit: CBS)

"Certainly to have all of the mothers there and have their sons honored and all of the names read is important," said Victoria Nevins. Nevins' son, Sgt. 1st Class Liam Nevins, died in Afghanistan in 2013 on his fifth tour.

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Liam Nevins and his mother Victoria (credit: CBS)

Liam signed up for the Army while still in high school and after four tours he settled down in Denver, but the military called him back.

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"When he found out there was a special forces group, green beret group in the national guard he signed up," she said about signing up for the Colorado National Guard.

Liam was shot in a "Green on Blue" attack when a gunman dressed in an Afghan National Security Force uniform opened fire.

"I'm amazed at Colorado and how they honor their military," Victoria said about Tuesday's ceremony. "It's truly an outstanding state for that."

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Boots 66 has a moto: "Oath Has No Expiration Date." But, to parents of the fallen, they just appreciate someone is willing to keep honoring and remembering their kids year after year.

"It's heart wrenching and heartwarming at the same time. Our kids gave up so much to give us the freedoms we have," said Moser.

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"It's a comfort. We're all together and our kids are being honored and heroes are being honored. That's the way it should be," said Nevins.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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