Memorial Day events held in Chicago area

May 31, 2010 4:18:38 PM PDT
Heavy rain, lightning and thunder threatened to ruin Memorial Day observances Monday, but Chicagoans refused to give in to the weather. They carried on with their tributes to America's servicemen and women anyway.

At Chicago's 31st Street beach, the sizzle of barbeque grills joined the crackle of thunder as a few around Chicagoland refused to let anything dampen the day.

"This is Memorial Day. This is for all the veterans. This is for us. This is for family," said Goldie Lane.

Armed with umbrellas and plastic bags, Lane, along with her partner and sister, braved a Memorial Day rainstorm that soaked everything but their spirits.

"We've been planning this for about a week and a half now. We want to enjoy it. All the rain won't stop us," said Andrea Abron, Goldie Lane's sister.

That family wasn't alone. Others, too -- like Henry Smith-- were hungry for a traditional holiday celebration and would not be denied.

"I brought stuff out. My jacket. My hat. I prepared for it," Smith said.

Despite threatening skies, Lincoln Park's Woogmns Parade, Chicago's oldest do-it-yourself parade, got under way Monday, as well.

And so did Memorial Day festivities in Park Ridge.

"It's great. It's good," said Edwin Bunch, a Korean War veteran.

The celebration to honor the service men and women who have sacrificed for our country started under sunny skies, but eventually had to be cancelled as thunderstorms rolled into the area just before 12 p.m.

While the rain caused problems for most people, Jessica Schmidt and Leonardo Silva decided that a walk along the lakefront, no matter what the weather, was just what they needed.

"I'm in good company, and I'm going to keep going," Leonardo Silva said.

In another part of town, Rosehill Cemetery hosted its annual Memorial Day services with a series of events. A parade stepped off around 10 a.m. Monday along North Clark Street.

Several veterans organizations participated, including Amvets Post 243.

Attendees then gathered inside the cemetery for the posting of the colors.

Although rain started falling, weather did not seem to put a damper on things.

Monday's ceremony wrapped up with the placement of the memorial wreath and a roll call to honor fallen soldiers.

Also this Memorial Day, veterans paid tribute to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender servicemen and women during another ceremony.

A solemn procession of veterans made their way through Space Park on Chicago's North Side Monday. They gathered to honor those who sacrificed their lives to serve their country, and they laid a wreath in their memory.

Speakers talked about the difficulty of serving under the U.S. military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

"Those who fought and served under the burden of fear that they may be discovered, we remember and honor those members who have had a special burden in serving our country," one speaker said.

Participants also read a roll call of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women who died while fighting for the United States.

Finally, Monday marked the 78th annual Chicago Fire Department Parade and memorial Mass.

The parade of uniformed members of the department is a Memorial Day tradition. The event started at the corner of Roosevelt Rd. and Blue Island and ended at Holy Family church.

Then, Mass was celebrated by Fire Department Chaplain Fr. Tom Mulcrone.

Following the Mass, a roll call of all the department members who died over the last year was read.


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