Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade remembers America's fallen servicemembers

It's not fancy. But it's respectful. And it provides an annual opportunity for all of us to remember that Memorial Day is more than just the unofficial start of summer. It's more than a day off. The annual Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade provides an opportunity for Americans to recall, remember, and reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice made by so many in the service of the nation.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It was long a solemn duty for grieving mothers and widows to decorate the graves of their loved ones. The practice became institutionalized in the aftermath of the Civil War. Many communities, North and South, claim to have originated the observance. But the traditional May 30 date was selected in 1868, and promoted by the Union Army veterans organization, the Grand Army of the Republic. The original date of Memorial Day was chosen because (somehow) there had been no major battle on May 30.

Eventually Memorial Day became recognized as a day to honor all of America's war dead, in any war, declared or otherwise. It became a Monday holiday in 1968.

Of course, the kids watching yesterday may have been a little vague on the history. That's OK; they were there.

Iraq War veteran John Joyce served as Grand Marshall of yesterday's parade. (The link is to the DNAinfo Chicago article, by Heather Cherone, about Joyce's military and civilian careers.)

Of course, you can't have a parade without politicians, and there were both some local dignitaries...

... and some political candidates.

The appearance of the Bagpipes and Drums of the Emerald Society of the Chicago Police Department was pursuant to bipartisan agreement.

The Norwood Park Memorial Day Parade ends at Taft High School. Not surprisingly, Taft had a large contingent marching in the parade.

More parade photos can be found on page two.

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