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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is explained


Above / The Naperville Veterans Color Guard steps off along Jackson Avenue to begin the 2018 Naperville Memorial Day Parade, a time to honor the fallen for their service and sacrifice. (PN File Photo)

Special Commentary to PN (Reposted from 2013)

By Terrance Jelinek 

Terry Jelinek

Memorial Day observed on the fourth Monday in May and Veterans Day always on November 11 are two very important days in the hearts of veterans for two entirely different reasons.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, the more somber of the two days, is a day that should convey to all Americans the price and pain of the quest for our nation’s freedom. It is a day in which we remember the dead for their service and sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if those who we remember this day died on the battlefield. What is important is that all those who have died have been a part of America’s past and that each one in his or her own way contributed to our American heritage. We recognize that their contributions helped ensure our freedoms.

In America, we have been honoring the dead on Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) since the end of the Civil War.

General John A. Logan was the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union Veterans. He issued the following order in response to a request made by Adjutant General Norton P. Chipman:

“The thirtieth day of May, 1868, was designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this order and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.”

We feel that this order is fitting and proper and are proud to be part of a community/town which continues to mark this observance every year.

The picture of a grave site with a wreath or a flag shows the solemnity of the day. But the veterans who have gone before us want us to celebrate the freedoms that they have helped preserve.

Remember Veterans Day as ’11-11-11′

Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, is celebrated every November 11 to mark the signing of the Peace Treaty of the “War that would end all wars,” World War I.  The Armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918, proving to be a very happy occasion. The world was once again at peace and millions of soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen from all countries were returning home to their families and loved ones.

Unfortunately, World War I was not the war to end all wars. So in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a day in which we thank all veterans for their service. If you were to think of it as a picture, the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square at the end of WWII is a great image.

Editor’s Note / Lifelong Naperville resident Terrence “Terry” Jelinek (April 17, 1948 – December 23, 2018) was an active member of the American Legion Post 43 and the Judd Kendall VFW 3873. At different times, he served as Commander of both Veterans’ organizations. Terry also served on the Memorial Day Parade Committee for many years.

In 2013, Terry contributed the much-appreciated special commentary for Positively Naperville to distinguish Memorial Day from Veterans Day. Terry’s remarks are reposted here with his family’s permission.

Veterans Park is located at 301 Gartner Road. A flag-raising ceremony will take place at 8:35AM on Memorial Day, May 29. The peaceful setting reminds all to “Let peace and beauty be found here. Remember those who have served us well.”  At 2PM Sat., May 27, 2023, the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will be dedicated in Veterans Park. (Photo May 25, 2023)

James Hoch Photography captures Memorial Day Observances

Throughout the year, Jim Hoch collects photos and data on more than 3,044 local Veterans on which gravesite flags are placed during the Memorial Day Week. If any family member is a Veteran who at one time lived in Naperville, please send name, date of birth, date of death, conflict, branch of service, rank, cemetery where buried and any interesting facts to Hoch at jehoch1@aol.com. Hoch will send you a PDF of his list of all Veterans upon request. Thank you.

James Hoch Photos / American flags placed in cemeteries Memorial Day Week 2023.

Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Dedication / 2PM May 27

The community is invited to the unveiling of the Naperville Gold Star Families Memorial Monument during the dedication ceremony that begins at 2PM Sat., May 27, in Veterans Park. Parking is available at Grace United Methodist Church, 300 Gartner Road.

In early February 2023, the monument was set into place in Veterans Park and covered until time for its dedication Memorial Day weekend. At 2PM Sat., May 27, the tribute to the fallen heroes will be unveiled. (PN Photo)

The Naperville tribute led by Lew Breese and Committee Co-chairs Jennifer Slown and Marty Walker has been in collaboration with the Woody Williams Foundation and Century Walk Corp. With much gratitude from organizers, the initiative has been the recipient of City of Naperville SECA funds as well as major contributions from the Naperville Park District, Woody Williams Foundation, Naperville Freemasons, Naperville Responds for Veterans and American Legion Riders. Dozens of generous individual donors also gave support.

The community is invited to attend the unveiling with family, friends and neighbors during the dedication that will include a Lima Lima flyover; music performed by members of the Naperville Municipal Band, the Naperville Men’s Glee Club and the Highland Bagpipers; and other tributes that recognize the honorable sacrifices that protect freedom, safety and the future.

For the first time, the community will see how this one-of-a-kind Gold Star Families Memorial depicts “Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice.”

The dedication is expected to be about one hour. Considering the bright sunny day, plan to bring a collapsible chair and water.

For more info about the project and how it has grown throughout the United States, visit woodywilliams.org.

Memorial Day Photos

Early on Memorial Day, a flag-raising and wreath laying ceremony sets the day in motion at the Sept. 11 Memorial along the Riverwalk. (PN Photo, Memorial Day 2022)

Weather Forecast Update, May 26, 2023 / When early morning flag raisings begin Memorial Day, the sky is expected to have intermittent clouds with sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s, rising to 86 degrees. Be smart. BYO water to observances. Be safe.

Schedule for Memorial Day Flag Raisings on May 29, 2023

Memorial Day 2022

7:45AM Service at City Hall (Cmdr. Dan Shanower Memorial)
8:15AM Service at G.A.R. Monument in Naperville Cemetery (south side)
8:35AM Service at Veterans Park (301 E. Gartner Road)
9AM  Service at Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery (911 North Avenue)
9:25AM Service at Burlington Square (307 N. Ellsworth Street)

Veterans info for Memorial Day Parade

10AM Parade Line-up (vicinity of West St. and Jackson Ave.) Spectators are welcomed to line streets along Jackson Ave., Washington Street and Benton Avenue in downtown Naperville.

10:15AM Veterans step off to start parade.

10:20 Service at Riverwalk Memorial (during parade)

Naperville Municipal Band will perform Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2022

10:30AM Mon., May 29 – Memorial Day Parade – Downtown Naperville – Naperville resident Joe Kennedy again will serve as emcee, providing commentary throughout the parade to honor the fallen. Kennedy introduced the Naperville Municipal Band and many school bands from School Districts 203 and 204.

12PM Mon., May 29 — Memorial Day Concert, Wreath Laying & Patriotic Tributes — Naperville Community Concert Center in Central Park. Public welcome to the 30-minute observance.

Memorial Day Parade in downtown Naperville

Memorial Day 2022 (PN Photo)

Memorial Day 2023 will be observed on Mon., May 29.  In Naperville, the annual Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10:30AM, headed east along Jackson Ave. to Washington St., north along Washington to Benton Ave. and east toward Ss. Peter and Paul Church.

From Benton Ave., Veterans and the Naperville Municipal Band will head toward the Community Concert Center in Central Park.

Memorial Day 2022 (PN Photo)

After the parade, folks gather in Central Park for a 30-minute observance with music performed by the Naperville Municipal Band, patriotic tributes and a wreath laying that begins at noon. (approximate start time following the parade.) The annual tribute also includes the Armed Services Medley where Veterans who served the Coast Guard, Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force stand for the appropriate theme song.

Memorial Day 2022 / Neuqua Valley High School student Yashas Sardesai delivered his award-winning speech on the importance of voting in local elections, a presentation that received high honors in the 2022 State Oratorical Contest sponsored by the American Legion. (PN Photo)

The National Moment of Remembrance is 3PM Memorial Day

Tom Parker, Chairman of the 2023 Naperville Memorial Day Committee, also encourages the community to take note of the National Moment of Remembrance, an annual event set for 3PM on Memorial Day. 

Memorial Day 2022 (PN Photo)

No matter what time zone, the 3PM time was chosen as a time to pause and reflect because mid-afternoon is when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on Memorial Day.

Flags and a fountain are featured at the entrance to the Naperville Municipal Center (aka City Hall), located at 400 S. Eagle Street. Considering the award-winning oratoricals delivered during the Memorial Day Observance in Central Park, folks elected to serve city and other local governing bodies for the park and school districts are important and good to know.

Thanks for paying attention. The Naperville City Council meets at 7PM on the first and third Tuesdays of most months in Council Chambers at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street. 

And as the summer season approaches with Memorial Day wrapping up this three-day weekend, kindly take a moment to remember those individuals and their families that paid the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard this nation from adversaries, at home and throughout the world. Remember safely.




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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.