Many gathered in Daley Plaza to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice made by those who have died in defense of our country.
Before Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took part in the traditional wreath-laying.
Emanuel presented mementoes of gratitude to the Gold Star families, those who have lost a loved one to war.
This is very special. It just brings out everything this country really stands for. a very special moment," Brent Johnson, the uncle of 25-year-old Army Lance Corporal Bryant "BJ" Luxmore who was killed in the summer of 2012, said.
Saturday afternoon, ceremony gave way to celebration as the largest annual Memorial Day parade in the country stepped off on State Street with former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta as Grand Marshal.
"This is a great city with great history and we're paying tribute to the great heroes that serve this country," Panetta said. The parade featured dozens of military marching bands and floats including ABC7's.
"We always come out to the parade just to honor the people in the military," parade goer Sheila Anderson said. "We wouldn't be here without them."