Community pays tribute to fallen soldier - FOX 13 News

Community pays tribute to fallen soldier

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

From all over the Tampa Bay area, they came to Bayshore Boulevard.

And they came to say thank you.

Waving American flags, many paid their respects Monday to Dunedin's Zachary Shannon, who was killed earlier this month while serving in Afghanistan. A military escort took his body from MacDill Air Force Base to Palm Harbor, where it will be laid to rest.

Before that, the escort went down Bayshore Boulevard, where hundreds lined up to pay tribute to the 2010 Dunedin High School graduate. Some were retired military, others just there to show their appreciation.

"My son just got back from active duty after coming back from Iraq, and I'm part of the Patriot Riders," said veteran Ed Cleveland. "There were only 25 riders in the procession today, so I drove my car up to stand here and salute as this hero goes by."

The 21-year-old Army Specialist was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on March 11. He had achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a Black Hawk mechanic.

"Unfortunately, I was part of the Vietnam era," Bill Wickline said. "And our troops didn't get any respect – none whatsoever. So if we can do this for the troops serving in Afghanistan right now, I think it's extremely important."

Shannon was the youngest of four brothers, all of whom spent time in various military branches. He and his brother Stephen both took part in the Jr. ROTC program while enrolled at Dunedin High School.

A memorial service to honor Shannon was held Sunday. Wristbands were sold in an effort to raise money for a scholarship in his name.

Stay with FOX 13 for more updates today.

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