Washington commemorates Memorial Day with parade and ceremony
WASHINGTON, Illinois (WMBD) – Hundreds of central Illinois citizens gathered in Washington Square on Monday for the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony.
It was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
After a lively parade of fire trucks, vintage cars and veterans, the crowds (and their lawn chairs) made their way to Glendale Cemetery for a grim ceremony, with speakers paying their respects to those who died for their country.
“We are here to remember the veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and they are not here to tell their story, so we tell their story for them,” said Dan Semlow, one of the speakers and VFW Walker Danforth Commander. Post 9016 in Washington.
Washington Mayor Gary Manier said it was great to see so many people turn out after having to cancel the parade and ceremony last year. He estimated that “a few thousand” were on the parade route and 600 people at the ceremony.
“I think it means we heal [and] emerging from the pandemic. The more people get vaccinated, the more and more outdoor activities we will see, ”he says.
The ceremony began with the display of colors by the Washington Police Department honor guard, followed by the national anthem.
Jim Talaska, commander of the American Legion Post 100 in Washington, said he appreciates the community’s support.
“It’s great that the community is still coming to support the veterans, and it’s great after COVID to be able to come back and come together and celebrate our veterans,” said Talaska.
Colonel Dan McDonough, commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria Air National Guard, said he was pleased with the turnout and respect for the dead.
“Having served as long as I have seen the nation change from the post-Vietnamese era… The people who may not have been as well received as they could have been, and certainly the Today’s veterans are treated very well, and I think the nation has learned and has come to support the veterans and those who ultimately sacrificed for the country, ”he said.
Semlow said it was important to differentiate between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“Remembrance Day is for those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, and then in November, Veterans Day is for all who were served. So just remember the difference between Memorial and Veterans Day, ”he said.