Mayor Lori Lightfoot attended an 11 a.m. Memorial Day commemoration at Chicago's Grant Park and Gov. JB Pritzker spoke at Mount Prospect's Memorial Day parade and ceremony.
In Grant Park, officials asked people gathered to take a moment to remember what Memorial Day is all about.
They said it's about remembering those who have died while serving the country. Mayor Lori Lightfoot reminded people that does not just include U.S. military members, but also police officers and city workers of all kinds.
"Memorial Day is a day to remember all the service men and women who gave their lives for our country's freedom. We're standing here today because of those people," said retired Major General John Scully, civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army in Illinois.
"This weekend, whether its police, whether its fire, EMT, a whole range of city workers are out and have been out away from their families," Lightfoot said.
General John Logan was instrumental to the establishment of Memorial Day after the Civil War. For 26 years now, military members and Chicago city officials have laid wreaths in remembrance of fallen veterans at the base of his statue in Grant Park.
"The nation owes John Logan, an Illinois general, a southern Illinois general who kept Illinois in the union, everlasting gratitude," said retired Major General John Borling.
Governor JB Pritzker reminded the crowd what our fallen have given, so we could live free.
"Freedom isn't free," Pritzker said. "Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice knew that. Those of us who remain must remember that."
The 103rd annual Memorial Day Parade returned to Arlington Heights after a two-year absence from the pandemic. Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes joined ABC7 Monday morning to discuss the festivities.
"We actually just moved to Arlington Heights in November, so we're excited to start all these traditions," resident Kylie Arndt said.
"I wanted to come for the kids and for the police officers and everybody that served our country," resident Julie Lima said.
With 3,000 marchers and several thousand spectators, the Arlington Heights Memorial Day parade is one of the largest in the area, running from Village Hall to Memorial Park. The excitement brought out even the littlest of fans.
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The village also had a Silver Star Pinning Ceremony followed by a reading of the names of fallen heroes. Parking is free in Arlington Heights parking lots on Memorial Day 2022. For more information, click here.
People across our area came together to commemorate all the local service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, defending our freedom.
"I want them to really appreciate what we have in this country and the price that so many people have paid, whether in the military or otherwise serving our country," Vietnam War veteran Don Luken said. "I think it's so easy to take it for granted because we have it so good."
In Mount Prospect, people also gathered for a ceremony that included Revolutionary War and Civil War cannons, a flyover with an Air Force fighter squadron, and a 21-gun salute. They are all traditions that keep people coming back year after year.
"My family moved here in 1950, so I kind of grew up with the town," Mike Zadel said. "This has been a tradition for as long as I can remember."
This year's parade marshal is local hero and Medal of Honor recipient Allen Lynch, who also served as the event's keynote speaker.
Lightfoot encouraged residents to thank city workers for their service.
Full list of Chicago-area Memorial Day events:
8 a.m. - Beverly/Morgan Park 10K Memorial Day race at Ridge Park at 9625 S. Longwood Drive.
9:45 a.m. - Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at Mount Prospect Memorial Day Parade and ceremony at Lions Park Veteran's Memorial at 411 S. Maple St.
10 a.m. - Hoffman Estates Memorial Day ceremony at police department at 411 W. Higgins Road.
10 a.m. -Memorial Day ceremony held by veterans at Breakers Senior Lifestyle Community in Edgewater Beach at 5333 N. Sheridan Road.
10 a.m. - Cook County Board Pres. Toni Preckwinkle marches in the Chicago Heights Memorial Day Parade at Landeen Park at 181 W. 10th St.
10 a.m. - Lynwood Mayor Jada Curry unveils Veterans Memorial at Liberty Memorial Park at 3107 Glenwood Dyer Road.
10:30 a.m. - Barrington Memorial Day parade starts at Cook and Main streets.
10:30 a.m. - Evanston Memorial Day ceremony held by Evanston American Legion Post 42 at Fountain Square at Sherman and Davis Street.
11 a.m. - Mayor Lori Lightfoot attends Memorial Day Commemoration at Grant Park at Michigan and 9th Street.
11 a.m. - Former Gov. Pat Quinn speaks with veterans in Garfield Ridge at the Rhine VFW Post 2729, 5858 at S. Archer Ave.
11 a.m. - Memorial Day parade held by Wellington Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society at Pine Grove and Wellington avenues in Lakeview.
Noon - Roosevelt Collection Shops hosts "Healing and Harmony" event on its rooftop for Mental Health Awareness Month at 150 W Roosevelt Road in the Loop.
Noon - Aurora Memorial Day parade starts at Benton and River streets.
1 p.m. - Matteson Memorial Day concert attended by Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin at Memorial Park 212th Place at Tower Avenue.
1 p.m. - Memorial Day ceremony held by Village of Orland Park at14700 S. Ravinia Avenue.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.