KENT, Ohio - Exactly one year ago, May 28, 2011, U.S. Army Specialist Adam Hamilton of Kent, Ohio was killed in Afghanistan when he stepped on an explosive device.
Riding in the city's Memorial Day parade, his father, Scott Hamilton, said it reminded him of returning home with his son's body.
"We came down this same street and it was just lined with people who cared and on the worst day of my life ever I sat there and I sort of had a warm feeling and said, 'Good for you Adam, you deserve it,'" said his father.
"He was just such a charismatic, caring, wonderful young man. Everybody wanted to know Adam and he just really cared about everybody," said his mother, Nancy Daczko Krestan.
The crowd along North Mantua Street was lined with family and friends of the Hamiltons on Monday, many of them gathering near Theodore Roosevelt High School where Hamilton had been an outgoing student and athlete.
"As much as we struggled with him being (in Afghanistan), that's where he wanted to be and doing what he wanted to do, and we are so proud of him," said Renee Collins, one of Hamilton's Aunts.
"I will admit, I'm like other people, I don't go to the Memorial Day parade every year, but I'll never miss one now, it has a whole special meaning," said Don Ashton, an uncle.
The community on Sunday gathered to support a fundraiser for the Adam Hamilton Scholarship Fund.
The fund has already provided $10,000 scholarships to two Theodore Roosevelt High School graduates.
On Monday, Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala held back tears as he helped dedicate a sign in front of the high school naming a part of North Mantua Street in honor of Hamilton's service.
"It's a shame that one day a year we come out in force and remember," Fiala told Fox 8 News, adding, "we've got to remember them every day for what they have done for us."
"We walk this earth with pride and honor for all the men and women, including Adam," said Scott Hamilton, who concluded, "this sign is just a small piece to remind us all that worse than death is to be forgotten."