Libertyville, Mundelein, Vernon Hills prepare to honor fallen soldiers
World War II veterans Donald Carter (left) and James Robbins are shown in front of the Blue Star Memorial at Cook Park in downtown Libertyville. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS
LIBERTYVILLE: A silent parade starts at 9:15 a.m. at Metra station and then proceeds south on Milwaukee Avenue to Cook Park. Ceremonies will include Scott Schroeder, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, the Libertyville High School Band, and local vocalist Jonathan Weppler. The participants will then walk to Lakeside Cemetery on Lake Street to place the wreath and read the names of the deceased on Veterans’ Memorial Monument.
MUNDELEIN: Mundelein VFW members will meet at the Veterans Point at Hawley Street and Route 176 for a short service at about 9 a.m. VFW members will then board a trolley and lead the Memorial Day Parade from the Mundelein Village Hall to Memorial Park, where the American Legion will host its Memorial Day ceremony.
VERNON HILLS: Short ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. at the Vernon Cemetery, at 10 a.m. at Willow Lawn Cemetery, and at 11 a.m. at the Vernon Hills Arbortheater.
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:27AM
While their numbers may be dwindling, veterans who volunteer for service organizations like the American Legion and VFW play a critical role in organizing local Memorial Day events -- to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
In Libertyville, members of the American Legion and VFW organize a silent parade that starts Memorial Day morning at the downtown Metra station and proceeds down to Cook Park for a memorial ceremony. Participants then walk to the Lakeside Cemetery, where they place wreathes on the graves of local residents who died in wars.
Jim Robbins, quartermaster and past commander of VFW Post 8741 in Libertyville, reads the names every year of the veterans on the Veterans’ Memorial Monument at Lakeside Cemetery. The monument includes the names of local fallen soldiers from the Civil War, to World I and II, the Army of Occupation and the Vietnam War.
“You try not to let your emotions get away from you, but some of the fellows I knew are listed (on the monument),” said Robbins, a veteran who served just after World II.
“The toughest thing for a lot of the guys is when they play Taps,” said Don Carter, a World War II veteran who was part of the Normandy invasion and is vice commander of American Legion Post 329 in Libertyville and chairman of Libertyville’s Memorial Day parade. “That gets to lot of people.”
In Mundelein, members of Mundelein VFW Post 7191 host a short ceremony on Memorial Day at Veterans Point at Hawley Street and Illinois Route 176 and then ride a trolley in the memorial parade down to Memorial Park, where the Mundelein American Legion Post hosts a Memorial Day ceremony.
Joe Trimble, post commander for Mundelein VFW Post 7191 and a member of American Legion Post 867, said while the Memorial Day ceremonies always tend to get a good crowd of people, it’s getting tougher for veterans’ service organizations to attract new members.
“The VFW is hurting for members,” he said. “A lot of the World War II and Korea war vets are passing away and the Iraq and Afghanistan vets are starting families or going back to school. We’d like more to join us and come to events like this.”
The VFW Post in Vernon Hills dissolved several years ago because of lack of members. The Vernon Township American Legion Post 1247, which covers all of Vernon Hills, and parts of Long Grove, Prairie View, Buffalo Grove and Hawthorn Woods, runs small ceremonies on Memorial Day at two cemeteries in Vernon Hills and at the Vernon Hills Arbortheater.
James Flood, commander of Vernon Township American Legion Post 1247, admits it’s getting tougher to all the time to attract new members and volunteers to join the organization.
“We’re looking for new members because a lot of our older members are dying off,” he said.