Mid-Michigan hero remembered 10 years after killed in battle - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan hero remembered 10 years after killed in battle

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COLEMAN, MI (WNEM) -

A Mid-Michigan family is remembering their lost loved one 10 years after he was killed in battle.

Their story reminds everyone Memorial Day is not just a relaxing day off, but a time to remember the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It has been a decade, but Amie Zylman said she will never forget the kind of person her brother was.

"Compassionate, supportive and funny," she said.

May 25 marks 10 years since he died.

Casey Zylman was only 22-years-old when an IED exploded in front of him, killing him while he was deployed in Iraq.

It is a time his sister said she will never forget.

"I didn't believe it, but within moments it sunk it and it was really crippling," she said.

She said the Coleman Veteran's Memorial is a constant reminder her brother is always with her in spirit.

Jim Johnston, Casey's old football coach, said he remembers watching Casey play like it was yesterday.

"Casey was an over achiever, small in statue but very tough kid," Johnston said.

The unfortunate journey sparked an annual concert called United by Sacrifice. It kicks off its seventh year this Sunday at Coleman Veteran's Memorial Park.

"I know that Memorial Day is a very somber day and a day for us to remember those who have passed. So the day before we use as a celebration," Amie Zylman said.

Johnston, who works with the memorial, said every single year Casey's unit comes all the way to Michigan to attend the concert.

"The thing about the Zylmans is that they lost Casey, but they have so many other sons now because this concert this weekend, there's gonna be so many guys he served with that come back every year and they're very close with the family. It's almost like they lost one, but they gained 20 to 30 more kids," Johnston said.

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