Western Springs to honor fallen in parade
The Lyons Township High School Marching Lions perform during last year's Memorial Day parade in Western Springs. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:09AM
Memorial Day observances will begin today (Thursday, May 24) in La Grange and Western Springs with veterans and volunteers passing out red cloth poppies to honor American troops killed in wartime.
Volunteers also will collect donations today through Saturday at locations throughout La Grange Park, La Grange, Western Springs and Countryside to support programs for hospitalized and disabled veterans and their families.
The poppy as a symbol is traced back to World War I, when wild red field poppies sprang up as an unexpected sign of life and hope in otherwise barren and devastated battlefields and became a symbol of remembrance in 1918.
On May 28, the Western Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10778 is sponsoring a Memorial Day parade beginning at 10 a.m. in Spring Rock Park at Burlington and Central avenues.
Leading the parade will be newly commissioned Air Force 2nd Lt. Dan Riordan, a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Western Springs.
Mel Villacana, a Vietnam veteran who earned two Purple Heart awards, will serve as grand marshal.
The Lima Lima Flight Team, a group of volunteer civilian pilots, will perform a flyover during the parade, including a missing-man formation.
From Spring Rock Park, the parade route heads east along Burlington to Lawn Avenue and then turns north across the tracks. Marchers will turn west on Chestnut Avenue, south on Grand Avenue and end at Hillgrove Avenue and the Tower Green for a Memorial Day ceremony.
Maggie Smith and Nancy Payne, students from Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park, will read the names of fallen military personnel. Clare Hogan and Andrew Stables, students at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, will play taps.
Any veteran is invited to march in the parade along with veteran marching units, police, firefighters, Scouts and children’s groups.
Organizers ask participants not to distribute candy or other items along the parade route, because the event is intended to salute military personnel who sacrificed their lives and honor their families.