ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Residents across the Chicago area are honoring and remembering fallen service members during Memorial Day.
For nearly 100 years, Arlington Heights has marked Memorial Day with a parade that’s now one of the largest in the Chicago area, including over 3,000 veterans taking part.
“It’s appreciation, I’m recognizing the sacrifice they made for us, and I want the kids to recognize that too,” Arlington Heights resident Dennis Colton said.
Parade goers held “Arlington remembers” signs, which included the names of 58 residents who have died from the Civil War through Afghanistan.
This year’s grand marshall was WWII veteran Al Mampre, who served in the 101st Airborne Division and fought in the Battle of Normandy.
“It’s about the people who have sacrificed their lives for our well being. It’s a sad day; I’ve been to the cemetery and it breaks your heart,” Mampre said.
In the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of Chicago, the second annual South Side Memorial Day Parade honored fallen heroes, including African American veterans who died in the line of duty. A pop-up art installation by the Greater Chatham Initiative also honored first responders from the South Side neighborhood. Each of a series of signs has the police officer, firefighter or paramedics’ name along with years of service.
“My father was a first responder he was killed in the line of duty when I was an infant. We always seem to honor him where he was buried but not in a place he lived and served,” said Nedra Sims Fears of the Greater Chatham Initiative.
And in Grant Park, wreath laying honored veterans at the General John a Logan Monument. It was led by retired Major General, John L. Borling, a former Vietnam POW.
General Logan was a Civil War general and founder of Decoration Day, which later became known as Memorial Day.
“I look in the mirror and wonder, what I have done for my country lately? They gave it all, the ultimate sacrifices, that we may drink from the cup of freedom every day,” said Pastor Don Borling, All Saints Lutheran Church.