Parade-goers were happy to honor local veterans marching in this year’s Barrington Memorial Day parade. I was there with my kids and walked away feeling like it’s one holiday that should last longer than 24 hours and a long weekend in May. Now that Memorial Day is over and we’re back to business as usual, I wanted to share photos and comments offered by participating veterans and people along the parade route.
The parade started at Cook & Main Streets in downtown Barrington, with veterans leading the way. They walked with a solemn air of pride and gratitude for their fellow service men and women and those who have lost their lives and made great sacrifice defending our freedom.
The parade is short but very special to our veterans, who were followed by groups like Barrington High School’s Band…
Barrington’s Middle School Band…
Plus area Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies and Cub Scouts whose participation in Barrington’s Memorial Day Parade dates back decades.
The parade leads everyone to Evergreen Cemetery, the resting place of hundreds of war veterans from the Barrington area.
As people surround the cemetery monument, local veterans lead a brief ceremony, remembering and honoring those who lost their lives defending our country. To me, it’s always an opportunity to catch up with our veterans after the ceremony, shake their hands, say thanks for their service and ask for a reminder, in their words, about the significance of Memorial Day.
Veterans like James Mulvihill, the “Incoming Commander, for the fourth time” of Barrington VFW Post 7706. He served our country from 1952 to 1956, stationed at an air base in Germany after WWII.
“We can never forget all the people that suffered for our freedom, and suffer they did. All you have to do is read about what they went through in Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge, in the jungles of Vietnam, it was just terrible. And our boys in Iraq and now Afghanistan, which is worse than Iraq ever was. It’s just a lot of sacrifice and we can’t forget that.”
Today, James lives in Barrington with his wife, Doris.
“Seeing all of these people at our Memorial Day Parade gives me goosebumps. Barrington is such a patriotic town and it just feels great to know that everybody here is interested in their country.”
I also met VFW 7706 Junior Vice Commander, Charlie Vogel, who marches in the Memorial Day Parade every year. This year, he brought his son and daughter-in-law along.
“I served from September of 1968 until November of 1969, stationed in Da Nang, Vietnam at a big naval supply center there. On Memorial Day, I’m just kind of humbled and I guess a lot of us guys over here have a little bit of survivor’s guilt. I think back to some of the guys I served with in Vietnam who were killed over there and you just remember the guys who didn’t come home.”
Along the parade route, I found neighbors who came out to support our veterans, like David and Sylvia Chidley. Sylvia grew up in Barrington and remembers marching in our Memorial Day Parade as a Girl Scout many years ago.
“This parade is also special to me because my dad is a veteran up in Evergreen Cemetery now. He was a WWII Veteran and moved back to Barrington after the war to marry his sweetheart and raise our family here.”
David says Memorial Day in Barrington is all about tradition and showing gratitude. “For me, it’s really an opportunity to say thanks to the veterans who are still alive and also spend a little time in solemness to say thanks for those who couldn’t be here to march.”
We also met Nancy Kholamian who was watching the parade along Dundee Avenue with family and friends.
“To me, the parade is a way to take a moment and remember what Memorial Day is all about and it just brings the town together. My dad was in WWII and the Navy and I think of all the people I’ve lost; my parents, my husband’s parents and just that the generation is slipping away. I think about all of our service people everywhere and take a moment to remember and honor them.”
Erin Murphy and Jason Richards live along the parade route and say the holiday is becoming more meaningful every year.
“Unfortunately, I think the younger generation sees Memorial Day as a day to BBQ and people lose sight of the fact that people have died for us to have this day off work. Now that I’m getting older, I’m realizing what it really means and it’s an important day and important to have parades so people know, understand and remember.”
Here are a few more Memorial Day reflections shared by others in Barrington:
Marianne Genge Jagmin
“On Memorial Day, I honor my dad who is 91 and fought in WWII. All of his friends who stood up to his wedding in ’44 when he was home on leave died shortly after in the war. He was one of the lucky ones. He has many stories from then that he tells us. God bless you dad Chester Genge.”
“I remember my cousin, Rayme, who was the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. He was only 22 when he was killed in Vietnam. Love you and think about lots, especially on Memorial Day.”
“I’m thinking about one special veteran, Bob Brandt. Bob was a World War II veteran who left this earth last November. Bob always came to our middle school activities for Station Campus and participated in our World War II Days for several years. He worked with the teachers and facilitated a project of placing flags on the graves of all veterans at the Evergreen Cemetery in Barrington. He felt strongly that our youth should understand the sacrifices of veterans and fostered a strong respect for our military and America. Rest in Peace, Bob! You left a wonderful legacy to our students.”
With that, I say thank you to all of our veterans. For serving, for leading and for teaching us never to forget those who sacrificed so we could have the lives we do today. Remembering those sacrifices is the message behind one of my favorite poems for Memorial Day, In Flanders Fields. Here’s the poem followed by a slideshow with more photos from this year’s Barrington Memorial Day Parade.
In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Colonel John McCrae – May 3rd, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.