Heat thins ranks, but Dundee memorial parade marches on
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News May 27, 2012 5:46PM
Emily Linden, 5, of West Dundee, Ill., holds a flag during the Memorial Day Parade in West Dundee, Ill., on Sunday, May 27, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: July 3, 2012 10:23AM
WEST DUNDEE — Every year, the Memorial Day parade passes by Bonnie Yate’s home on Route 72.
Every year, the 73-year-old Yates said, the Dundee-Crown High School marching band plays “You’re a Grand Old Flag” as it passes her front porch.
And, every year it makes her tear up just a little bit, Yates said. For five of the 24 years that she’s watched the parade from home, her mother was there, too, and would sing along with the tune.
“She would come out here, her hand over her heart, and would get so into the music,” Yates said.
Sunday’s parade, organized by the Tri-Cities VFW Post 2298 in West Dundee, was no different this year. The Dundee-Crown High band played the song as it marched between Van Buren Street in East Dundee and up the hill to Grafelman Park in West Dundee.
There were fewer parade entrants this year than others — perhaps from the heat. That was the reason some of their older veterans did not march in the parade, said VFW Commander Erick Seals.
“We’d be thinning the membership of the VFW,” if some of the veterans walked the uphill route, he said.
The route didn’t seem to bother Bill Wertheimer, 80, of Wheeling. The Korean War veteran walked the parade route a few times, dressed in his FVW uniform and selling American flags for $2 each to the families lining the route. Funds he raises by selling the flags go to the North Chicago VA Medical Center. Between selling poppies and flags, Wertheimer said, he’s raised $400 this year for the veterans served there.
“Every dollar, every penny, winds up in the pockets of the hospitalized veterans there,” Wertheimer said. “They will have something in their pockets.”
More veterans rode in cars for the parade route as well.
The annual parade is just one of the many events the local post sponsors over the weekend, Seals noted. On Saturday, members helped place flags on veterans graves at the Dundee Township Cemetery, Seals said. On Monday, the VFW post plans a 7 a.m. ceremony at the post’s flag pole, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony on the Fox River bridge and an 11:30 a.m. memorial service at River Valley Memorial Gardens on Route 31.
Following the parade, both the Dundee-Crown and Carpentersville Middle School bands played a few patriotic tunes before keynote speaker and past Post #2298 Commander Pat Green spoke.
He reminded the 300 or so that stayed for the ceremony that Memorial Day is about more than a vacation day and barbecues.
“Memorial Day is not a day of celebration. It is a day to honor those who have given their lives for our freedom,” Green said.