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.

18 comments so far

God bless you, man.

Two great ideas, PW. I hope your readers communicate them to the marchers and the watchers in time to make them happen.

Great advice!!!

You may want to pass this along to the ORD-REST group whos presence in this parade is opined to be more of a protest of O’Hare than actually honoring or countries heroic men and women!!!!!!!


Fallen from grace –

I hear that the Knights of Columbus or some other pro-life group will be “protesting”, too. I’m not a pro-lifer, but the people we are honoring Monday died to preserve our right to protest, so I don’t consider any political statement by people in the parade as “Tacky” – especially if the marchers have a vet with them and are wearing their poppies.

Well… that’s the beauty of freemdom. The choice to, not agree!!

Have a peaceful, fun-filled, long weekend.

The men and women who sacrifice/d to serve and protect our country deserve our respect and gratitude. There is nothing wrong with citizens “expressing their freedoms” during a public venue as long as it is not disruptive or disrespectful to our veterans. It is their service to our country that preserves the freedoms that we have. Thank you veterans!

“Using” a venue intended to honor those who bestowed us our freedoms often with their own lives, in itself is direspectful. Treating a parade of honor, as ones owns personal entitlement is tacky!!!

Remembering those who earned you your “entitlement” would be better recieved.

Expression of protest could be done at a more appropriate time and place.

I also thank ALL of our Veterans!!!! God Bless!

Hey, Gracie, if “tacky” is what your concerned about, what about all those marchers who throw candy to the crowd, or hand out flags with little advertisements wrapped around the handle, or all those indian guides/scouts/war parties walking around in costume. How is that honoring our war dead?

Whew, easy there, I was just offering an opinion and it is your right to not agree with it.

Throwing candy for fun is just that, fun.
Handing out advertisments is a little distasteful but harmless and often winds up in the trash.

Kids in “costume?” are you serious? Many of those scout, guides etc, often grow up to be soldiers. Their “leaders” should use this as an educational tool to help our youth better understand and respect the service of all men and women who serve us.

Using this venue to try promote a political and personal idea, in order to get a foot in local government seems a little petty and opportunistic.

Fallen from grace on 05.22.09 1:32 pm:

I’m enjoying the irony of the last comment.

Apparently you can honor the war dead who fought and gave their lives so that we can continue to enjoy our Constitutional freedoms (like political speech and assembly) by engaging in such silly irrelevancies as throwing candy for “fun” and wearing Indian costumes. But the minute you actually engage in the political speech and assembly they died for, you are disrespecting the war dead and being “tacky.”


So, you dislike children in cerimonial costume and candy, but all things political like speech and assembly (although useful and with purpose at most times) are worthy of this arguement?

Wow back at you…….oh look the sun is shining, I think I’ll go enjoy the weekend, hope you can do the same.

How about we take all this heartburn about a parade and turn it toward appropriate funding for the VA and support for military families. Wooops, that would cost money.

Let’s all bitch about indian scouts not honoring our vetrans. Then on Tuesday the majority of citizens will pretty much forget about it until next year. But hey, we have those nifty stickers on our cars.

The candy is not thrown-it is hurled into the crowd. If you are involved, please just toss it so a spectator does not take one in the eye. And parents-keep hold of your little ones so they do not run out in the parade route and get hit by a car or float etc.

And all participants are welcome. It makes for a more interesting parade.

excellent suggestions to return some meaning to a parade that had, in my opinion, lost a sense of what the day is really all about.

thank you.

“IF YOU ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM, THANK A VET.” This is what my son read 10 years ago on a sign in Gettysberg. He wrote this down on paper and framed it. Now he is 18 and this still hangs on his wall. He has taken time over the years to talk to veterans, visit the VA hospital and VFW. I am proud that he took an interest to listen to stories and help a group in our society that has done so much and asks for so little. He plans on attending college in the fall and upon graduation in 4 years, enlisting in the Air Force.
And I think, what a wonderful human being! Yet, there will always be complainers, not doers. For those who plan on having a silent protest during the parade with posters etc. (ORD REST, and those protesting Gov. Quinn’s tax increase) save it for another time. Let’s remember those who gave their lives and those who are still alive. Let’s have posters that say “THANK YOU”. Let’s have cheers from the parade watchers when our honored vets walk on by, not boos yelled out to politicians or political groups.
I will be clapping for these vets, for I am proud. I will be cheering for my son as he marches in his last parade with the Maine South band. I am thankful to the men and women who have served in the military and made sacrafices so that I can live where I live; in peace.

There’s a vet selling poppies today at the Jewel at Busse and Greenwood. Go get ’em.

You’ve got me in tears. I read “In Flanders Fields” in an 8th grade civics class and have never forgotten it. I never see poppies growing in a field that I don’t think of it. Yesterday, I thanked the MC at the Hodges Park ceremony who used his bully pulpit to ask that we not just shed a tear but tell our government to make sure no veteran is undoctored, unhoused, unfed in this country. Put our money where our mouth is, for once; It’s the least we can do.

Thanks for the poem.

Just an FYI about the Knights of Columbus marching in the Memorial Day parade.

The K of C were asked to march with the St. Paul of the Cross Respect Life Group. The leader of the PR K of C (who marched in the parade in K of C regalia) is a former Marine (officer) fighter pilot who flew in Desert Storm. He was carrying a banner that honored the memory of a Marine Chaplain who died on the battlefield.

Please get your facts straight before flinging accusations…

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