The Chicago Memorial Day Parade, which took place along State Street on Saturday May 26th, honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. This year’s parade was dedicated to all soldiers who fought and died in our country’s recent conflicts. The City of Chicago was proud to have post 911veterans represented in our parade this year. This year, the parade also commemorated the 150th Anniversary of Taps with a special tribute. In 1862, Oliver Wilcox Norton wrote what he called “the hardest 24 notes to play”. The all too familiar cadence of notes first played by Wilcox during the Civil War and will be played by a group from Bugles Across America to mark the anniversary.
The mounted color guard presents the flag to kick off the Chicago Memorial Day parade.
David Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander of the International Security Assistance Force and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. His other four-star assignments include serving as the 10th Commander, U.S. Central Command and as Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq where he oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq.
U.S. Marines stand at attention during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Chicago Memorial Day Parade.
The U.S. Marines leading the start of the 2012 Chicago Memorial Day Parade.
One U.S. Marine steps out of the parade march to give high fives to the children who were watching the parade.
This Armored Personnel Carried was one of the many service vehicles that participated in the parade on State Street.
Members of one Jr ROTC carry a large American Flag down State Street.
Even the USMC mascot was dressed for occasion.
Reflecting in the windows of the Daley Center was the silhouette of a statue showing a soldier mourning the loss of a brother in battle. The statue, flags and memorial wall showing the photos and names of all Illinois fallen soldiers were all set up in Daley Plaza by the Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Walk.
Another statue on display in the plaza was the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross. The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier’s rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and the boots of the fallen soldier next to it. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before they were removed.
My Grandfather’s Purple Heart Medal with his folded American flag in the background.
I made a post last year in honor of my Grandpa shortly after he passed away. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII in Europe and the Pacific. I recently received some of the military medals that he earned during the war but was never physically awarded at the time of his discharge. As I was mounting his medals into a display case, I noticed the sun light catching the back of his Purple Heart as it lay across the folded flag from his memorial service. I took a quick shot before I mounted it behind glass and just wanted to post it in memory of a man who I probably didn’t appreciate enough in life or thank in person for the service he provided our country.
If you have a friend, family member, loved one or even come across a complete stranger in their uniform, take a couple seconds to thank them for being a big part of something that makes this country such an amazing place for people from all walks of life. And more importantly, don’t feel like you should only show your appreciation one day a year on Memorial Day. Make it a regular thing since members of the military spend 365 days a year making sure we’re safe.
View 2011 Memorial Day post