After being canceled last year due to COVID-19, the Naperville Memorial Day Parade will be happening this year. Though it will be scaled down according to parade chairperson, Tom Parker.
Scaled Down Event
American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 are the organizers of the Memorial Day parade and ceremonies. The parade will begin at the VFW Post 3873 at 9 a.m. Marching participants will be limited to veterans, the combined post color and honor guards, and American Legion riders and scouts.
“When we first started planning this, nobody knew and we still don’t know for certain what are the guidelines going to be for groups, social distancing. And that’s what kind of led us to make the decision that it’s going to be veterans only,” said Parker. “That way we didn’t have a bunch of other groups signing up to participate in the parade only to potentially find out that nope we can’t do that. We just thought it would be much easier to do it at this level.”
High school bands from all five Naperville high schools have been asked to participate. They will be assigned to stand at a specific location on Jackson Avenue. The Naperville Municipal Band will also be at the Dandelion Fountain in Downtown Naperville.
Those in the parade will make their way down from the VFW to the Dandelion Fountain where a brief ceremony will be held. The parade traditionally goes through downtown Naperville, kicking off at Jackson and West streets.
Memorial Day Ceremonies
A number of other ceremonies will also take place after the parade at various locations including the Shanower Memorial, Veterans Park, and the Doughboy and Sailor Memorial. At noon there will be a Memorial Day observance ceremony at Central Park.
The full schedule and list of locations can be found here.
“It’s about the veterans that volunteered to be in the military, to potentially sacrifice their lives. And unfortunately, Memorial Day is all about the ones that did have to make that sacrifice,” said Parker. “This is an opportunity for us to come out and remember those folks, to honor them and their sacrifice.”
Each memorial ceremony will consist of a short prayer, laying of wreaths, and rendering honors.
Attendees are asked to “comply with social distancing and mask directives,” according to the VFW website.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.