By Bob Bong
With Memorial Day fast approaching, several communities have opted to cancel or hold scaled back ceremonies and, in some cases, are going virtual.
In Palos Park, Village Manager Rick Boehm said the village was planning a “virtual Memorial Day celebration.”
“We can’t have a bunch of people gathering around,” he said. “We’ve had to cancel most of our building rentals (for private events) for the same reason.”
Boehm said the prerecorded ceremony would be “fairly simple. The Boy Scouts will present the colors, the mayor will be there as will County Commissioner Sean Morrison.”
Boehm said the ceremony would be posted to the village’s Facebook page and website starting at 3 p.m. Friday, May 22.
Orland Park will also hold a virtual Memorial Day ceremony that will be broadcast live.
The live broadcast will begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 25. Those interested in virtual participation can view the program on Orland Park’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/user/villageoforlandpark. Those who are subscribed to the Village YouTube channel will be automatically notified of the live broadcast.
A recording of the ceremony will be posted on the village’s social media accounts, cable access channel (Comcast channel 4 and AT&T U-Verse channel 99) and YouTube channel after the live viewing.
The names of eight veterans that have been recently added to the village’s granite wall will be read aloud during the ceremony: Alfredo “Fred” Garza Guerra; U.S. Army 1942–1945; Stanley “Stash” Howaniec; U.S. Army 1965–1967; Eugene J. Kalck; U.S. Army 1943–1945; Frank C. Rimkus; U.S. Navy 1942–1945; Louis W. Rimkus; U.S. Army 1943–1945; Thomas H. Tupa; U.S. Army 1970–1972; Rocco Vari; U.S. Marine Corp 1956–1962; Robert Zylka; U.S. Navy 1963–1969.
The Memorial Day itinerary is as follows:
- Welcome address will be offered by Dale Carver, U.S. Army Retired Lt. Colonel and Chairman of the Orland Park Veterans Commission.
- American flag raising by Mohammed El Natour, U.S. Army Reserve and Member of the Orland Park Veterans Commission.
- Pledge of Allegiance.
- A Blessing will be offered by Reverend Don Borling, Pastor, All Saints Lutheran Church.
- Wreath laying by Jim Thompson, U.S. Army Veteran and Member of the Orland Park Veterans Commission.
- Memorial Day Reflections/Reading of Newly Engraved Names by Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, U.S. Air Force Veteran.
- Closing Ceremony–“Taps” by bugler Allen DeNormandie, U.S. Navy Veteran and Member of Veterans Voices Military Group, Orland Park.
The Village of Tinley Park and the Tinley Park Veterans Commission will host a virtual Memorial Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at the Gen. Patrick E. Rea Veterans Plaza.
The ceremony will be streamed live on Facebook. Residents can tune in and watch the morning’s events live from home, or they can watch the event after the fact on the Village’s YouTube channel at TinleyPark.org/YouTube and on Tinley Park Television.
The ceremony will include the posting of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, guest speakers, a Battlefield Cross ceremony, a wreath presentation in memory of all fallen veterans, a flag ceremony and the announcement of new paver bricks added to the Veterans Walkway.
The Village of Lyons, which normally marks Memorial Day with a ceremony at the eternal flame outside the pumping station on Ogden Avenue, is another of the area communities taking things online this year.
The move is being done for fears of spreading the coronavirus at a large public gathering.
Ted Tala, director of the village’s parks and recreation department, said the change was needed because of stay-at-home orders, which limit how many people can gather safely.
“We’re going to be putting together a nice video that’s taking the place of our Memorial Day ceremony,” Tala said.
“It will launch live on our Facebook page, on Memorial Day, live at 11 a.m.,” Tala said. “Obviously, we take Memorial Day very seriously over here, and we didn’t want to scrap it all together.”
The goal, Tala said, is to “keep everyone in good spirits.”
“With a lot of events cancelled, this is something we can still honor,” Tala said.
In Justice, Trustee Fran Mills said the village will hold a short, scaled back Memorial Day ceremony at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 25.
“The mayor will present the ceremonial wreath at the monument,” Mills said. “The pledge and a prayer will be said.”
She said social distancing would be observed. She estimated the ceremony would last “about 15 minutes.”
Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago will broadcast Memorial Day Masses online on Monday, May 25, at 8:30 a.m.
All in-person field Masses at nearly 40 Catholic cemeteries have been cancelled because of COVID-19. The Masses will be recorded in three languages, English, Spanish and Polish by Bishop-elect Michael McGovern, Bishop Robert Casey and Bishop Andrew Wypych, respectively, and will be available for viewing at www.CatholicCemeteriesChicago.org.
“Traditionally, our Memorial Day Masses draw thousands to honor our veterans but because of safety precautions for our veterans and community, we will observe the Masses online this year,” said Ted Ratajczyk, executive director of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago. “Our online Masses will pay tribute to those who have served our great country and our loved ones who have gone before us.”
Cemetery grounds will be open on Memorial Day with visiting hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff members will be onsite and available to assist families. Visitors must abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, wear protective facial coverings and respect social distancing directives. Only gatherings of 10 or less are permitted.