Memorial Day events honor Ill. service members

May 28, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Iraq War veteran Captain Christian Palmer, a retired U.S. Marine, added 12 names and photos to "Illinois Faces of the Fallen Soldiers." Another retired military official conducted the wreath-laying ceremony in their honor.

"We shouldn't dilute Memorial Day. By reminding ourselves always this is for the people that gave their lives for our country, that's what draws me here, as a guy who spent 37 years in the Air Force, trying to be a small part of a much, much bigger thing," Major General John Borling said.

The event was conducted by representatives of each branch of the armed services, Gold Star Families and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Military officials say 243 service members from Illinois have died since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have earned a spot of honor on the list.

Also Monday, the Chicago Fire Department held its 80th Annual Memorial Parade and Mass at Holy Family Church to honor fallen firefighters.

"It is a chance for us to honor. We are spread out in the entire city, 5,000 firefighters and paramedics and this is one time of year we get together and recognize those who have passed. It is very important to our family," Commissioner Jose Santiago, Chicago Fire Department, said.

In northwest suburban Arlington Heights, a parade was held in honor of the fallen. Residents took time to pay their respects to soldiers from their area.

"Those 58 young men from Arlington Heights that gave their lives... So we can be here today," Greg Padovani said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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