Elected officials and residents honored the memories of fallen armed forces in a solemn ceremony on the Oak Lawn Village Green on Monday, but it was the veterans themselves who were the true VIPs for the day.
More than a hundred residents took an hour out from their backyard barbecues to pay their respects to those who enabled them to enjoy a beautiful day under free blue skies.
After a miserable month of cold and rain, which Congressman Dan Lipinski compared Saturday and Sunday to tears for the fallen, Monday's sunny and warm weather felt like a rebirth of the American spirit.
Mayor Dave Heilmann recalled his father, Joseph, who served in the Coast Guard. This was the mayor’s first Memorial Day without his dad, who passed away last fall.
Oak Lawn Village Clerk Jane Quinlan read a poem.
Members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Johnson-Phelps VFW Post and the American Legion Post 757 carried wreaths up to the names engraved on the marble wall of the veterans' memorial.
Young children ran through the legs of their grandpas wearing their service caps, not yet realizing that a precious American tradition was being handed to a new generation.