There are always a couple sides to a man, but perhaps no two more clear than the side that his friends see, and the side that his mother sees.
Both of the sides of Lance Cpl. Jordan Bastean were on display Wednesday morning at the Pekin post office at 514 Broadway St. That post office will from now on be called the Lance Corporal Jordan S. Bastean Post Office in memory of the late Bastean, who was killed on Oct. 23, 2011, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Bastean grew up in Pekin, and graduated from Pekin Community High School in 2010.
Bastean’s friends and family were at the ceremony to speak about him, as was Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, who hosted the ceremony and passed the legislation to rename the post office in Bastean’s honor.
Dozens gathered outside of the post office as Bustos directed everyone to rise and stand for the presentation of colors, as well as the singing of the National Anthem.
In remembering Bastean, Bustos spoke about his lasting legacy of service and dedication.
“His strength of character was infectious, and so was the love of his country,” said Bustos. “Jordan Bastean died a hero.”
Three of Bastean’s fellow Marines, Nicholas Bauer, Brain D’Arcy and Barney Brown, spoke at the ceremony.
Brown shared anecdotes about ribbing Bastean, and the development of a friendship over time, which included, in no small part, Bastean keeping him out of trouble, while also toeing the line of trouble himself.
“We didn’t break into the company office, because we had a key,” said Brown, to ample laughter.
He later shared the last moment that Bastean and he spoke, which was the night before the combat operation in which Bastean lost his life. Brown’s friend and future best man in his wedding was to be on the operation as well, and Brown told Bastean to “take care of (his) boy.”
“We went to sleep that night, got up, the op(eration) took off, and he did exactly what he said he was going to do,” said Brown. “He protected our boys, and he helped bring some good guys home.”
Kathy Bastean, Jordan Bastean’s mother, provided the penultimate remarks, which were followed by the unveiling of a mockup of the plaque that would honor her son.
She detailed the process of taking up the idea to rename the post office and watching it become reality, thanking those who helped along the way.
Bastean also added an anecdote about her son, prefacing with, “sadly it’s a mom story… it’s not quite as cool as the Marine ones.”
She shared how her “tall, skinny kid” with ripped jeans and a ratty old ball cap always wanted to catch a specific type of small, white butterfly. “Those butterflies posed a problem for Jordan. He had to catch one,” said Bastean.
According to her, Jordan arrived home from bootcamp in October 2010 and was visiting with a friend who lived across the street. As she walked by the front window of the home, she stopped and watched her son running in the yard across the street, as he, once again, was attempting to catch one of those butterflies.
“I (couldn’t) help but smile to myself knowing there is still a goofy little boy in that tough new Marine,” said Bastean.