Chicagoans pay tribute to military

May 25, 2009 8:45:58 PM PDT
Memorial Day is marked by picnics, parades and ceremonies in the Chicagoland area. VIDEO: World War II vet shares memories
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Many events were held around the Chicagoland area to commemorate military service men and women.

One was at the historic Graceland Cemetery. It's the place where some of Chicago's early elite are buried and where many chose to gather to remind themselves -- and the rest of us -- what this day is truly about.

"God bless them and all the ones that passed on. They are watching over all of us. And we should be proud," said Helen Salcido, who is married to a Vietnam War veteran.

Once again Chicagoans marked Memorial Day, first with a parade and then a ceremony at Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N. Clark St. Ceremonies like this have taken place here since 1868 -- when the holiday was first dedicated and known a Decoration Day.

Members of the ROTC, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Came together at the cemetery's historic chapel for a wreath laying and a reminder of what this day is about.

"This is one way you can pay tribute and thank the veterans and those people who support this country," said Rev. George Rice, parade marshal.

Others chose to acknowledge the sacrifices of the few for the many -- in a more traditional way -- with picnics and barbeques.

While David James refused to let storm clouds push him from his cooking perch at 31st Street Beach, Eric Dano decided to move his family celebration inside.

"We got about 2 good hours in but it started raining. We had 2 good hours," said Dano.

Even those along the lakefront who decided to celebrate the day with a cook-out say, especially during these times, the sacrifices of the men and women in the military are never far from their thoughts.

Out in the suburbs people also showed their patriotism this Memorial Day. Naperville held its 92nd Annual Memorial Day Parade. It was sponsored by Naperville American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall Post Number 3873. Before the parade kicked off, several different services were held in the city to honor service men and women.

In Munster, Indiana, a large prayer service was held at the Family Christian Center of Munster. Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the church has made it a priority to pray for armed services personnel before each weekend service. Senior Pastor Steve Munsey says they will continue to pray for service men and women until they are all back home.

According to the Department of Defense, the US has lost 4,299 men and women during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Operation Enduring Freedom, taking place in and around Afghanistan, has claimed the lives of 614 American military men and women. The latest reports show the State of Illinois has lost 188 people in the fighting overseas.


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