The Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade is scheduled for Saturday, May 28. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. This year’s Grand Marshal will be General Raymond T. Odierno, United States Army, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command. During the parade, Odierno will swear in new recruits representing many branches of service.
The history of Memorial Day spans centuries. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died; the day was called Decoration Day. It was first observed on May 30, 1868. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers. After a 20 year hiatus, Mayor Daley reinstated the Chicago Memorial Day Parade, eventually returning the parade to its historic route on State Street. The Chicago parade is now considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation with this years’ parade dedicated to “Honoring our Cadets” in 2011.
The City of Chicago honors all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country, and will also include recognition of the Illinois Gold Star Families during the Commemoration. Participants in the parade include area high school Marching Bands, Drum and Bugle Corps as well as many Veterans’ groups, 6,000 JROTC students and the military. For more information on this event, visit the Web: www.chicagoparades.us.