This past May 29th was Memorial Day, a remembrance day celebrated since 1918 some 105 years ago.  It was designed to recognize the ending of World War I and hoped to be a symbol for no future wars.  Of course, it hasn’t turned out that way…not at all.

Yet Memorial Day remains and has changed into a day when we recognize service, sacrifice and loyalty.  When we remember service men and women who served and are serving.  When we bow our heads in respect for all those lost in wars and in service in all the years and wars since 1918.  Memorial Day is a part now of our national identity.

We acknowledge this when we continue with parades and military ceremonies and speeches.  We gather and pay homage to active duty personnel, to veterans, to organizations, and also to all our current first responders.  Elmhurst held its 105th Memorial Day Parade on a glorious day and with a strong crowd.  While we haven’t forgotten the COVID convoys that were held for a few years, we were more than ready for another “real” parade.

Memorial Day, as are most holidays that are centered on history, is always a combination of how the observance began and how it has changed.  Some prefer somber, serious tributes while others embrace the holiday as the start of summer and all summer means to so many.  Many do both.  I think that can work.

“Always Remember” has been the theme of Elmhurst’s ceremonies for decades.  It mixes the established traditions and leaves room to have memories of family gatherings, ballgames, walks in the park and this year walks under umbrellas without needing rain.

Just some thoughts and observations coming out of Memorial Day 2023.  Looking forward to 2024 already too.