ABC7 broadcast of the Memorial Day Parade

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ABC 7 Chicago salutes the nation's veterans with the broadcast of Chicago's Memorial Day Parade, one of the largest annual Memorial Day Parades in the country, (WLS)

ABC 7 Chicago salutes the nation's veterans with the broadcast of Chicago's Memorial Day Parade, one of the largest annual Memorial Day Parades in the country. The Memorial Day Parade is hosted by ABC 7's Eyewitness News anchor Ben Bradley. It kicked off from State and Lake, proceeding down to Van Buren. Participants in the parade included area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans' groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.

Video - Memorial Day Parade - Originally aired May 25, 2014

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ABC 7 Chicago's , Theresa Gutierrez, Eric Horng, Karen Meyer, Sarah Schulte and Ji Suk Yi were part of the festivities as they ride atop the station float.

The Memorial Day Parade pays tribute to the fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country and freedom. This year's Grand Marshal was Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman, Illinois' 8th District. Duckworth is an Iraq war veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth was seriously injured when her helicopter was hit and she was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries and since has become an advocate for her fellow soldiers.

The City of Chicago gave special recognition to our fallen heroes and their survivors in the solemn Wreath Laying Ceremony at Daley Plaza, which preceded the parade. The Gold Star Lapel Pin and the Next of Kin Lapel Pin are symbols of honor worn by family members who have lost a loved one in the United States Armed Forces combat operations or active duty.

The 2014 Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award recipient, James L. Frazier, was honored at the ceremony for his selfless devotion to the Illinois Gold Star Families and to the Men and Women of America's Armed Forces.

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who had died. It was first observed on May 30, 1868. Today the event has been expanded to honor all fallen soldiers.

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