Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and wreath laying ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 24. The wreath laying ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza and the parade will begin at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street.

The parade’s Grand Marshal is Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman for Illinois’ 8th District. An Iraq war veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Lt. Col. Duckworth’s congressional district includes Elk Grove, Schaumberg, Elgin, Bloomingdale, and a portion of Lombard.

Saturday’s ceremony will also give special recognition to our fallen heroes and their survivors with a special presentation to local families who have lost a loved one in combat operations or while on active duty.

Memorial Day has a rich history. 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.

The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation and participants include area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans’ groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.