Read the rest here.On April 25, Cpl. Benjamin H. Neal, 21, died in Afghanistan after his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device.
Neal's passing shocked his hometown of Orfordville, Wis., (pop. 1,321) which had not seen a combat death since World War I, according to the local American Legion chapter.
Soon after Neal's death, two of his cousins launched a Facebook page in his name, urging family members and friends to leave their porch lights on until Neal's remains returned home.
Denise Neal, one of the page's organizers, said the idea originated in a conversation between herself, her sister and their aunt. They wanted to collectively express their grief and show their support to Neal's parents, and chose leaving a porch light on after deciding that having candles lit all day was too dangerous.
"My impression of it is when you go out at night and your parents leave the light on until you come home, it’s kind of like that," Neal said.
Neal decided to reach out to family members and friends with the idea through Facebook. Soon the original recipients had invited their friends and so on.
More than 5,200 people have joined "Lighting The Way To Bring Ben Home." A Google map shows the locations of homes across the country where people have pledged to leave a light on. Most of the blue dots representing each house are concentrated near Orfordville, but some are as far away as Alberta, Canada; Landstuhl, Germany; and Bristol, England.