Chicago area marks Memorial Day with parades, ceremonies

Chicago area celebrates Memorial Day with parades, beach trips
From the lakefront to suburban streets, people around the Chicago area marked Memorial Day with friends, family and community.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- From beachgoers to parade marchers, Memorial Day celebrations were abundant throughout the city and suburbs Monday.

In Lakeview, the WOOGMS Parade - where nobody watches and everybody marches- kicked off from its usual spot at the corner of Pine Grove and Wellington. The parade has been a neighborhood staple for over 60 years. The Jesse White Tumblers also made their now-traditional appearance.

It may not quite be beach weather yet, but that didn't stop people at 31st Street Beach from getting gout and enjoying this first official summer weekend; nevermind that Lake Michigan's water temperature is only 52 degrees!

And of course it wouldn't be Memorial Day without grilling. Chevela Prince and hersister spent the morning setting up, pulling together a feast worth of a girls' day out.

"We've been out here since 8'oclock this morning. We're just enjoying the day. I'm enjoying everybody. The children playing around and stuff. It's cool," Prince said.

Memorial Day is also a chance to stop and thank those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

For the eighth year, the 17th Ward hosted a parade to honor South Side veterans.

Growing a little bigger each year, the 17th Ward Memorial Day Parade honors veterans on the South Side and brings the community together.

Veteran Rosetta Miller brought her grandchildren and cousin to watch the small but lively parade, which winds up and down a few blocks in Auburn Gresham.

"It shows that we are not alone, we haven't been forgotten," said Miller, who served in the Army from 1986 to 1989.

The event was started by Ald. David Moore as a way to honor and remember veterans in the 17th Ward, especially those form the St. Leo Residence apartments for men and women who have served

"On the South Side, North Side, any side, it's a pleasure to be respected and honored," said veteran Willie Green.

Across from St. Leo is a veteran's garden where, before the parade kicked off, a special ceremony was held for prisoners of war. There was also a flag ceremony for the fallen. The flag was presented to 97-year-old Theodore Vernon, a Navy veteran who served in the 1940s at Great Lakes where he recalls Black sailors being segregated.

Ald. Moore also invites students and local kids to get a taste of history. The parade includes men on horseback honoring Buffalo Soldiers, African American regiments in 1866 who helped protect westward expansion.

"For them to learn that history and meet people who led the way for them and show them freedom isn't free," said Moore.

The alderman said the parade will continue as long as he's alderman, and every year it gets a little bigger.

Thousands turned out for the Arlington Heights Memorial Day Parade Monday.

The 104th Annual Memorial Day Parade in Arlington Heights kicked off Monday morning.

Thousands of spectators gathered along the parade route to pay tribute to fallen service men and women and those currently serving.

Janel Lacey brought her two daughters to support their dad, who is a local police officer and a U.S. Marine

"We don't talk about all the deep and heavy with the toddlers but they understand the significance of that this is important," Lacy said. "They're proud of their dad for all that he has done to serve our country and to serve the community of Arlington Heights."

The Memorial Day ceremony will pay a special honor to Arlington Heights' 59th fallen hero, Private John Sieburg, who was killed in the Civil War.

He was forgotten for 160 years, until his great grandniece, Nadine Lussman, discovered him in her genealogical research.

"I never thought I'd be able to find out, you know, who the Civil War veteran was in our family and being able to find that is just, it's amazing," Lussman said.

A brick bearing his name has been added to the Arlington Heights memorial.

The parade also featuring re-enactors of the 8th Illinois Cavalry regiment that Sieburg was assigned to that regiment firing the first shot at Gettysburg.

"Today we are doing our very best to bring him back to our community's memory and give him the honor he has so justly du," Greg Padovani, chairman of the Veteran's Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights.

Meanwhile Kaki Newgard is remembering her son, Private First Class Will Newgard from Arlington Heights.

He was killed on a mission in Baghdad in 2006, a reminder of what this national holiday is about.

"I would tell them along with their BBQ's and your swimming and beaches just take five minutes to remember all of those men and women who sacrificed for us so we can have the freedoms we enjoy today," Newgard said.

Veterans gathered at Grant Park Monday morning to commemorate Memorial Day, with Mayor Brandon Johnson in attendance for the ceremony.

It marks the 27th annual Memorial Day observance in Grant Park.

Many across Chicago have been reflecting and remembering those who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Sunday, hundreds of motorcyclists paid tribute at the 54 mile Rolling Thunder Ride.

There was also a wreath laying ceremony in DuPage County in Wheaton that included Gold Star families

And Monday, there will be more salutes throughout the city and the suburbs.

The Memorial Day ceremony here at Grant Park will get underway at 11 a.m.

St. Charles Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

The city of St. Charles is hosting a full slate of Memorial Day events to honor fallen military service men and women. Activities include cemetery ceremonies, a parade, a memorial service, and a community breakfast fundraiser. In honor of their VFW day of service, the St Charles Veterans of Foreign Wars post 5036 will host a breakfast benefiting youth organizations in the St. Charles community. It will take place from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave in St. Charles.

After the breakfast, the city will host their Memorial Day Parade. It'll begin at 10 a.m. stepping off from 6th and Main streets in St. Charles. It'll continue west towards Riverside Ave. ending at the at the Freedom Shrine along the river which is west of the former police department, 211 N Riverside Ave. That's where a special Memorial Day service will take place around 10:45 a.m. The service is led by event coordinator retired Lt. Colonel Mark Powell and will include Mayor Lora Vitek reading the annual proclamation, a keynote address from Peter Orum,

Naperville Memorial Day Parade and ceremonies

The city of Naperville will play host to their annual parade and Memorial Day tribute Monday.

The day's events will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a memorial service behind city hall at the Commander Dan Shanower memorial, 400 S Eagle St .in Naperville. This will be followed by additional memorial services at various military memorials around Naperville including the Gar monument at Naperville Cemetery, 705 S Washington St, at 8:15 a.m., another at 8:35 a.m. at Veterans Park, 100 E Gartner Rd, one at 9 a.m. at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, 911 North Ave, and yet another at 9:25 a.m. at Burlington Square, 307 N Ellsworth St.

Then at 10:30 a.m., the annual Memorial Day Parade steps off at Jackson Ave. and West St. in Naperville. It'll head east to Washington, then north to Benton Ave.

A Memorial Day observance ceremony will be held starting around 12 p.m. at Central Park, 104 E Benton Ave. The ceremony will include guest speakers and musical tributes performed by the Naperville Municipal Band.

Ridge Run and parade

The Beverly Area Planning Association's (BAPA) 45th Ridge Run will return and take place this Memorial Day. The 10k, 5k, and youth mile races and the Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade are set for tMonday with runners, walkers and marchers of all ages invited to join in the tradition. Races start and finish at Ridge Park, 9625 S Longwood Dr. in Chicago, beginning at 8 a.m. The parade follows the run, beginning at 10:30 a.m., stepping off from 110th and Longwood in Chicago and marching north to Ridge Park.

Elgin Memorial Day ceremonies

This year's Elgin Memorial Day program will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the United States Air Force. Mark Smith, president of the Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association and senior vice commander of the Elgin American Legion Post 57, will be the keynote speaker at the Bluff City cemetery ceremony. The program kicks off at 11 a.m. at the Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd in Elgin, with a host of meaningful activities. In addition to musical selections from the Larkin School Band, local Elgin students will read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and General John Logan's May 5,1868 orders which established Memorial Day. The Memorial Day planning committee is honored to also have Elgin's poet laureate Gareth Mann in attendance. Gareth will deliver a patriotic poem written especially for this year's Memorial Say commemoration. There will be the laying of wreaths at the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial. The playing of taps, a roll call of deceased veterans, and a rifle salute will close out the program.

The Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association and the city of Elgin are also sponsoring three other Memorial Day programs prior to this. An outdoor catholic mass, combined color guard, and playing of taps will take place starting at 8:30 a.m. in Mount Hope Cemetery, 1001 Villa St. in Elgin. It'll be followed by a ceremony to honor those who died serving their country happening in the Garden of Honor at Lakewood Memorial Park, 30w730 Rt 20 in Elgin, at 9 a.m. That too is followed by a gathering organized by the Elgin Navy Club and the Elgin Marine Corps league to pay tribute to veterans interred at sea. That will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Elgin Veterans Memorial Park, 274 N Grove Ave. in Elgin, adjacent to the Gail Borden Public Library.

Kankakee Veterans Memorial Groundbreaking

The city of Kankakee will be breaking ground on a Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day. Known as the Ray Olley Memorial Project, the memorial will feature a life-sized 6ft tall statue of Ray Olley who was a World War II veteran. It'll take place at the planned memorial site which is near a Webber trucking, 2150 s rt 45-52 in Kankakee, starting at 9 a.m.

Mt. Prospect Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

VFW Post 1337 in Mount Prospect and American Legion Post 525 have named State Rep Stephanie Kifowit as a keynote for this year's Memorial Day ceremony and Grand Marshall. Kifowit served her country in the United States Marine Corps. She is a current member of Aurora American Legion Post 84 and the DuPage County Marine Corps League.

The Mt. Prospect Parade will kick off around 9:30 a.m. from Village Hall, 50 S Emerson St. in Mt. Prospect. It'll proceed South to Lincoln St, head east to the Veterans' Memorial band shell at Lions Park, 411 S Maple St., for a special Memorial Day Ceremony. It'll feature Kifowit's address, the Mount Prospect Community Band, the Marching Knights of Prospect HS, Civil War reenactors with period artillery pieces, a 21-gun salute by the mount prospect veterans color guard, and more.

Arlington Heights Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

The annual event is organized by the American Legion and Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights. The parade will consist of around 70 marching units with a total of 2,500 marchers.

The parade steps off at 9:30 a.m. starting at Arlington Heights Rd and Sigwalt St. in Arlington Heights by Village Hall. It'll travel west along Sigwalt to Dunton turning north. From there it'll travel north to Euclid when it heads back west to Chestnut and then south to Memorial Park, Chestnut Ave, and Fremont St. in Arlington Heights. This is where the 11 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony will take place.

17th Ward Memorial Day Parade

Chicago's 17th Ward holds the 8th annual South Side Memorial Day Parade. This year's keynote speaker will be retired Colonel Damon Arnold. Arnold served for 26 years in the Army National Guard, as the commander of the joint medical command and state surgeon general for 12 years. He was awarded the highly coveted Military Legion of Merit Medal from President Barack Obama for his achievements. Arnold also served as former director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The parade ceremony begins at 10 a.m. starting from 77th & Emerald in Chicago. It'll travel south on Emerald to 79th St., west to Halsted St., then back north to 76th St., east to back to Emerald, and then south for a block to St. Leo's residence for veterans for a wreath laying ceremony in front. Taking part in the parade will be the Chicago Military Academy JROTC/SROTC serving as color guard, the music box foundation, the Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th horse cavalry, Windy City Cheer, Barton Elementary School Band, MBM Dance Company, Stay Lit, Teatro Tariakuri Dance, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, the Tuskegee Airmen and more.

Lombard Memorial Day Ceremony and flag raising

The village of Lombard will hold its annual Memorial Day. Attendees and nearby residents are reminded that the ceremony will include a cannon fire and a controlled gun salute. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the Sunken Garden in Common Park, just east of Grace St. and Maple St. in Lombard. A raising of the flags will take place in Sunken Garden at Common Park at 12 p.m. by BSA Troop 140.

Rosehill Cemetery Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

Historic Rosehill Cemetery will host a Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony. The ceremony will celebrate past and present veterans and include an Avenue of Flags that will display over 175 USA flags of deceased veterans. The parade will also feature costumed union soldiers of the Chicago light artillery to discharge a cannon salute. A complimentary cookout will follow with past attendees reaching to about 1,500 people. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Rosehill Dr. and Ashland Ave. in Chicago. It's a smaller parade that leads into the cemetery, 5800 N Ravenswood in Chicago, for the 10:45 a.m. ceremony over at their Veteran Garden.

Aurora Memorial Day Parade

Aurora will celebrate the 155th anniversary of Memorial Day during this year's city Memorial Day Parade. With the theme, "remembrance and respect," the parade will feature Grand Marshal Dr. Brian Caputo who is president of the college of DuPage leading the parade. Dr Caputo retired from the United States Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel after more than 22 years of active and reserve military service. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. from the intersection of Benton and River St. in Aurora. It'll head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Pl. and ending at River St. The grand marshal's reception will be held before the parade from 8:30-930 a.m. at the G.A.R. Military Museum, 23 E Downer Pl. in Aurora. The pre-parade program will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the reviewing stand in front of the G.A.R.

Hoffman Estates/Schaumburg Memorial Day ceremonies

Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg are partnering for a joint a Memorial Day observance. The Hoffman Estates portion of the event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Hoffman Estates Veterans Memorial site located in front of the Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W. Higgins Rd in Hoffman Estates. Immediately following the lowering of the flag in Hoffman Estates, the observance will move to Schaumburg for a 10:45 a.m. ceremony at the St. Peter Lutheran Church & School, 202 E Schaumburg Rd in Schaumburg. Following the observance, hot dogs and other refreshments will be served at the picnic grove at St peter church. Brian Berg Jr, president of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates, will serve as the master of ceremonies this year. Other event participants include the Spring Valley Concert Band, Patrick Higgins Bagpiper, honor guards from the Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates public safety departments, American Legion Post 1983 and VFW Post 2202, and others.

Crown Point Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

American Legion Post 20 and the city of Crown Point will host its annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. with staging at the Cal Ripken Little League parking lot along Joliet Street just west of West St. in Crown Point. The parade begins on Joliet Street (also labeled 109th Ave. on some maps), goes east to Main Street, south to Wells Street and heads back east ending at the historic Maplewood Cemetery, 555 S Indiana Ave. in Crown Point. That's where the Memorial Say ceremony will take place. It'll begin at 11 a.m. there at the cemetery. American Legion Post 20, Crown Point Mayor Pete Land, Crown Point officials, the boy scouts, the girl scouts and local elected officials will participate.

Archdiocese Memorial Day Field Masses

The Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Cemeteries will host its annual field masses at 20 cemeteries throughout Cook and Lake counties with additional Memorial Day Masses being held at 16 parish cemeteries throughout the archdiocese. Guests will pray for peace and honor those who have served this country and remember the fallen. Active members of the military and veterans will receive a special blessing during the liturgies followed by the playing of "taps." Most liturgies will take place at 10:30am with a full list of locations at

Evanston Memorial Day Ceremony

The city of Evanston hosts a Memorial Day Ceremony in conjunction with the Evanston American Legion Post 42. They'll partner to host a Memorial Day community reflection and ceremony honoring America's fallen heroes at Fountain Square. They'll gather at 10 a.m. for the 10:30 a.m. ceremony at Sherman Ave. and Davis St. in Evanston. The ceremony will include non-denominational reflections, singing, and remarks by elected officials and leaders of local veterans groups.

Carol Stream Memorial Day Ceremony

The Carol Stream community will gather to honor our veterans and the fallen at a ceremony taking place in the western suburb. Hosted by the Carol Stream Park District and VFW Post 10396, the Memorial Day service will include bagpipers, a rifle-salute, as well as a keynote address. That will come from Bruce Peterson who is a 1st Cavalry lt.. colonel of the U.S. Army. The service begins at 11 a.m. at Carol Stream town center, Gary Ave & Lies Rd. in Carol Stream.

Crystal Lake Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony

Marine reservist Colonel Patty Klop from Wauconda will give the keynote address.

The Crystal Lake Memorial day parade begins at 11 a.m. at Crystal Lake Central High School, 45 W. Franklin St. in Crystal Lake. It'll runs east on Franklin Avenue, north on Williams St, and west on Woodstock St to Union Cemetery, 112 N Dole Ave., where a memorial service will be held.

Orland Park Memorial Day Ceremony

The Orland Park community will host a ceremony that is being done both in-person and virtually via Youtube. The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. at the village's Memorial, Ara Pacé - place of peace, located outside of village hall, 14700 S Ravinia Ave. in Orland Park.

The names of the five veterans that have been recently added to the village's granite wall will be read aloud during the ceremony. The ceremony includes a welcome address offered by Dan Marsan, U.S. Navy veteran. There will also be the American flag raising by the American Legion Orland Memorial Post #111 and VFW Reber-Tesmond Post #2604, National Anthem, as well as a wreath laying by Steven Bacho, U.S. Navy veteran, commissioner - Orland Park veterans commission. The guest speaker this year is Edward G Schussler, U.S. Air Force veteran captain.

WOOGMS Memorial Day Parade

The Wellington Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society (WOOGMS) marchers will celebrate its annual Memorial Day parade. The annual WOOGMS Parade, which takes place on Memorial Day and Labor Day, has been a staple in Lakeview for six decades and now includes children and grandchildren of the parade's original marchers. This one-of-a-kind neighborhood parade brings Chicagoans from across the city to the streets to help salute our veterans and celebrate the spirit of community. Enthusiastic marchers uphold the WOOGMS motto, "everybody marches, nobody (just) watches." The beloved Jesse White Tumblers will also be back with one of their breathtaking performances. It'll begin at 11 a.m. at the corner of Pine Grove and Wellington Avenues in Chicago.

National Women Veterans United Memorial Day Ceremonies.

The National Women Veterans United NWVU will host a Memorial Day program as well as a Memorial Day tribute at two separate events set to take place Monday. The Memorial Day program runs from 12:30-2 p.m. over at Dignity Memorial Evergreen Cemetery, 3401 W. 87th St. in Evergreen Park. Buffalo troopers MC Chicago will convoy ride into the cemetery with a horse and carriage caring a casket to symbolize the forgotten service members. The program includes a keynote from Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Terry Prince. The program also has music, wreath-laying, and playing of taps

After the Evergreen Park Memorial Day Cemetery program, the National Women Veterans United (NWVU) will host a Memorial Day tribute at the Restvale Cemetery in Alsip. It'll run from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at 11700 S Laramie in Alsip. Veterans will gather to remember and highlight the sacrifices of Sgt. Simone A. Robinson, a fallen soldier who died as a result of her injuries sustained in Afghanistan in 2009 cause by an IED.

Field of the Fallen

The Veterans Network Committee of Northern Illinois have been standing watch over the Field of the Fallen since last Friday and it continues through in northwest suburban Cary. It's designed to honor the brave illinois soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The field displays flags, one each bearing a soldier's name, date of death, and age starting from the gulf conflict. Members of the Veterans Network Committee stand watch over the field 24/7 throughout the weekend to ensure that these heroes are never forgotten. Every hour on the hour, a list of names from the display will be read aloud so that their memories live on forever. There's another closing ceremony set for at 5 p.m. The field is located next to the Aldi at 3340 Three Oaks Rd in Cary.