How About Something Special For Memorial Day 2009?


On Monday the traditional Park Ridge Memorial Day Parade will step off from South Park (Cumberland and Talcott) and end after passing the reviewing stand at City Hall.

The Parade is always a festive occasion, with the typical blend of elected officials, political organizations, community groups and various and assorted other participants mixing in for an entertaining event that brings the community together in a Norman Rockwell-esque sort of way.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But Memorial Day is really not meant to be a celebration.  It is a national holiday intended to commemorate and honor our fallen heroes, the men and women who have died in service to our country.  Unfortunately, that purpose seems to be increasingly lost among both the parade marchers and the parade watchers.

So we have two suggestions for those of you marching in this year’s Memorial Day Parade:

First, every group marching in the parade should invite one or more veterans, or current servicemen/women, to lead the group.    

Second, every individual marcher, adult and child alike, should buy a poppy from the folks selling them on the street corners and shopping areas all over town, and wear that poppy proudly as you march on Monday.  The same goes for those of you watching the parade.  And when you do, think of the poppies that inspired Canadian Army Lt. Col. John McCrae to write the words to “In Flanders Fields”:

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.