UPDATE, April 29, 2018 / On Thurs., April 26, the Memorial Day Parade Committee was recognized with the Naperville Jaycees Charles “Chuck” Bueche Lifetime Achievement Award during the 40th Annual Distinguished Service Awards held in the Pavilion at Meson Sabika in Naperville. 

The Jaycees Distinguished Service Awards recognize local individuals and organizations for their community spirit and dedication to Naperville. 

This year’s DSA Award ceremony celebrated sacrifice, kindness, compassion, acceptance and the ways the community connects every day to make a difference. Standing ovations and boisterous applause communicated plenty of appreciation for all 2018 DSA honorees.

First started in 1928, today’s all-volunteer Memorial Day Parade Committee is led by Terry Jelinek and comprised of commanders of the American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, veterans, members of the Naperville Municipal Band, Naperville Police and Fire Departments, as well as local residents. (PN Photo 2017)

The Naperville Memorial Day Parade Committee profile was written by Jaycees President Matt Dingeldein, who enlightened the audience by reminiscing about marching in the parade as a high school band member.

“The Naperville Memorial Day Parade committee keeps the heart of Memorial Day, front and center,” wrote Dingeldein. “Their focus is on remembering and honoring all of the veterans who died in the service as well as those who died afterward for their sacrifices, ‘so that we are able to enjoy the freedoms we have in this, the greatest country on Earth.’”

His remarks continued, “The Naperville Jaycees are thrilled to present the Charles ‘Chuck’ Bueche Lifetime Achievement Award to the Naperville Memorial Day Parade Committee. Their dedication to this labor of love for our community has supplied generations of fond memories and built a cherished tradition that we value and honor tonight. As a Past Commander of American Legion Post 43, we think Chuck Bueche would agree.”

Registration is online to participate in 2018 Memorial Day Parade

Original Post, Feb. 23, 2018 / Memorial Day is set aside every year to honor military men, women and families that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedoms. In the United States, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May.

In Naperville, the city’s tradition has been to host an annual Memorial Day Parade.

Organized by a parade committee comprised of members of the American Legion Post 43, Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, Naperville Municipal Band, Naperville Police and Fire Departments and other citizen volunteers, the Naperville tradition attracts tens of thousands to downtown Naperville to pay tribute to fallen heroes and their families. This year, Terry Jelinek again is serving as chairman.

The American Legion Post 43 and the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 alternate taking turns as the host organization of the parade every year as both veterans’ group share in planning the parade. With Post Commander Doug Deetjen, the Naperville American Legion is the lead veterans organization for 2018. Tom Parker is the current commander of the VFW post.

The 20-member committee has a combined parade-planning experience that approaches 200 years. Naperville Municipal Band Director Ron Keller expresses pride that he’s been on the committee for 50 years, with childhood memories of his first Memorial Day Parade about 70 years ago.

Attitude of gratitude for liberty

Parade participants enjoy watching flag-waving spectators, too!

Naperville native and history buff Steve Hyett who served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam again will add local color to the parade as he narrates the scene along Jackson Avenue for NCTV17 for all ages.

“I am humbled and honored to be asked back again as emcee for the Naperville Memorial Day Parade,” Hyett said.  “To me, this one parade is the most important of all the parades we have in Naperville.  It honors veterans, but more importantly, it honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.  Those of us who served and have come back to live another day can’t begin to do enough for those who will never come back, and to especially thank and honor those Gold Star parents who lost so much.” 
Hyett added that he aims to impart to the NCTV17 viewers and attendees “some of the heavy debt we owe to those who are not with us today… and that Memorial Day is not just some extra day-off holiday to celebrate around the picnic table. It’s truly a day of remembrance and honor.” 

The Memorial Day Parade will step off at 10:30AM on Mon., May 28. And it’s customary to hear applause and witness salutes from spectators who line the streets as they recognize supreme sacrifice and that freedom isn’t free. Crowds also show rousing respect to units of veterans with flags and to marching bands with many musicians, young and old, performing patriotic songs to remind us that peaceful assembly is cherished in our world.


Above / Members of the American Legion Post 43 and Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 present the Colors during the annual Memorial Day Parade. (PN File Photo)

Parade registration now in progress online only through May 1, 2018

To accommodate veterans groups, marching bands, local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other patriotic entries only, an updated website created by Emily Binder went live on February 1 to accept parade registration until May 1. Be mindful that this annual showcase is a display for entries to pay tribute and remember veterans for their sacrifices with respect.

The website also includes complete instructions with important parking directions and a map, providing parade participants with pertinent information that sets the Memorial Day Parade apart from other much-celebrated gatherings in a community that loves its parades.

For starters, at 10:30AM Mon., May 28, the 2018 Memorial Day Parade officially begins. Parade participants are to lineup near Centennial Beach along Jackson Avenue and West Street. The parade heads east to Washington, north to Benton, and east to the Ss. Peter & Paul parking lot.


Above / Visit Veterans Park across from Grace United Methodist Church any day of the year to pause and reflect about the meaning of Naperville Memorial Day Parade on the last Monday in May. Peace.

Observance with music in Central Park at 12:15PM

Immediately following the conclusion of the colorful red, white and blue parade, an observance with patriotic messages from guest speakers and musical tributes performed by the Naperville Municipal Band again will be held in Central Park at the Community Concert Center. Additional selected music will be provided by Metea Valley High School during the 30-minute observance.

Schedule of Veterans Tributes on May 28, 2018


Wear a Buddy Poppy to the Memorial Day Parade. Poppies will be available from the American Legion and the VFW prior to Memorial Day from Veterans and other volunteers in front of Casey’s Foods and many local supermarkets. Thanks to all!

Other observances with ceremonial red poppy wreath laying are included on Memorial Day.  Prior to the parade, veterans decorate local cemeteries and veterans’ monuments. During the parade they pause at Veterans Plaza along the Riverwalk and after the parade they recognize fallen soldiers in Central Park.

Memorial Day Schedule 

Note: Morning flag raising services will begin 15 minutes earlier again this year. 

7:45 – Flag raising and service at 9/11-Cmdr. Dan Shanower Memorial – (taps & volley)

8:15 – Service at Veterans Park (Gartner Rd.) – (taps & volley)

8:35 – Service at Burlington Square Park Doughboy Monument – (taps & volley)

9:00 – Service at St. Peter & Paul Cemetery (taps & volley)

9:45 – Service at GAR Monument in Naperville Cemetery – (taps & volley)

Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10:30AM 

10:30 – Advance section of parade steps off from Jackson and Ewing. Spectators are asked to line the street east of Ewing in order to enjoy all the band in the parade.

10:40 – Service at Veterans Plaza, corner of Webster & Jackson. Then the Main Parade steps off from Jackson & West St., East to Washington, North to Benton, East to Court Place (Veterans & Military Units), East to Ss. Peter & Paul parking lot.

Memorial Day Observance in Central Park at 12:15PM

12:15 – A 30-minute program at the Community Concert Center includes selections by Naperville Municipal Band with an invocation and other speeches. 

Absolutely no late parade registration / All registration due by May 1

The community is given plenty of notice to register. No late registrations will be accepted for parade entries. Again, the deadline to register is May 1 this year and every year. All help is appreciated to spread the word to scout groups, marching bands as well as other patriotic and veterans’ organizations.

The Memorial Day Parade is nonpolitical and noncommercial. Thanks for remembering to respect this special day and its meaning.

For information, visit www.napervillememorialdayparade.com.

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