In honor of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of the United States, the village of Worth and the Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991 held their annual Memorial Day observance Sunday at the Eternal Flame monument at 111th Street and Harlem Avenue.
Attendees paid their respects to servicemen and women who never returned from war.
“To me the most important message about Memorial Day is that we never forget the ultimate sacrifice that has been made by more than one million American service men and women since the Revolutionary War,” Worth Mayor Mary Werner told the gathering. “They have touched the lives of every man, woman and child who lives in America today.”
The remembrance’s keynote speaker, U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski (D-3, Western Springs), spoke to the audience of veterans, veterans’ families and area residents, asking each person to remember the men and women who have died to preserve Americans’ freedoms.
“Memorial Day is one day of the year in which we collectively stop and pause to remember the men and women who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms,” Lipinski said. “Publicly acknowledging their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of all our veterans and those still serving, is the very least we can do to honor these brave men and women and their families.
“As a congressman, I am committed to being their advocate, fighting to secure the funding our service personnel need and working with our veterans at home to address their individual needs and concerns, it’s a responsibility I feel privileged to have. That’s why events such as the Memorial Day tribute in Worth are so important to me.”
Post 991 Cmdr. John Harn emceed the event, and described how “we must remember the servicemen and women who fought and died for something larger than themselves.” Harn paid homage to those veterans who may at times be forgotten, and asked the audience to forever remember the gallantry of those who were killed, taken prisoner or missing in action.
Members of the Boy Scouts 668 and Cub Pack 3668 led the Pledge of Allegiance after Marrs-Meyer Post 991 Chaplain Christie Jastczemski lead the group in a prayer and moment of silence. After the Worth Girl Scouts Troop 551 presented a heartfelt prayer and poem, members of the Worth Village Board and veterans organizations from Palos Heights, Worth and Chicago lead a ceremonial placing of wreaths in remembrance of America’s war dead.
“Usually people that come here are here to pay respects to the dead,” said Martine Cpl. Alexander Pechar, who was deployed in the Far East from 1954 to 1959. “I know what I did in the service and I am proud of my service, this observance is not about what I did, it’s about those who are here to pay their respects and keeping young people aware of what’s going on in the world.”