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May 9, 2014

Respect. Honor. Remember.

Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony is set for Saturday, May 24 Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth to serve as Grand Marshal

Mary May    312.744.0576, mmay@cityofchicago.org

The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events are pleased to announce the Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying on Saturday, May 24. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11am at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman, Illinois’ 8th District, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq war veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Currently, Lt. Col. Duckworth represents the residents of Illinois’ 8th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a Blackhawk helicopter pilot serving in Iraq for the Illinois Army National Guard, Duckworth was seriously injured when her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12, 2004. Duckworth was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries and has since become an advocate for her fellow soldiers, veterans and wounded warriors. Duckworth declined a medical retirement and continues to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard.

The City of Chicago will give special recognition to our fallen heroes and their survivors at the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony and Memorial Day Parade. Gold Star family members are identified by the Gold Star Lapel Pin and the Next of Kin Lapel Pin that are presented to families who have lost a loved one in the United States Armed Forces to combat operations or while on active duty. Approved by Congress beginning in 1947, the Gold Star Pins are not an award, but symbols of honor worn by family members in remembrance of their fallen loved ones and the ultimate sacrifice they made.

Gold Star families are supported through the tireless efforts from countless individuals, including the recipient of the 2014 Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award, James L. Frazier. Frazier will be honored at the ceremony for his leadership, patriotism and selfless devotion to the Illinois Gold Star Families and to the men and women of America’s Armed Forces. In 2003, Frazier’s son Staff Sgt. Jacob Frazier, USAF Special Operations, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Since the death of his son, Frazier has fully committed his time and efforts to supporting Illinois Gold Star Families as the Survivor Outreach Services Coordinator for the U.S. Army, Northern Illinois.

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died; the day was called Decoration Day. It was first observed on May 30, 1868. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers.

The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. Participants in the parade include area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans’ groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.

The Chicago Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony is presented by the City of Chicago. For more information about the Illinois Gold Star visit, goldstarpins.org and for more information regarding the parade, please call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316 or visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.

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Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.