Tomorrow, please join me at the annual City of Highland Park Memorial Day Observance at Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Avenue. Please note the new location. Handicapped accessible parking will be available across the street from the auditorium entrance on the south side of Maple. A community service officer will be present to assist with street crossing. All others, please park behind the high school in the lot off of St. Johns and enter through the H entrance.
At 11:00 am, we will join together to remember those who died serving our great nation, preserving our freedoms and ensuring our continued liberty. We will stand as a community alongside our active service men and women, our veterans, their families and neighbors to commemorate and to honor so many acts of bravery and sacrifice.
It has been a tradition of ours to recite the poem “In Flanders Fields”at our Memorial Day Observance. As you may recall, in 1915, in Ypres Salient, a surgeon and Lt. Colonel in the Canadian Army named John McCrae looked around at the devastation and reflected on the horror of the past seventeen days he had spent treating wounded soldiers from many nations. He had just buried a dear friend and former student and out of deep sadness wrote the poem. Today, I share it with you and hope you will take a moment to read it and remember our fallen brothers and sisters in arms.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Though written over 100 years ago, the fragility of life, the pain of loss, the sacrifices we acknowledge on this special day are felt as sharply now as ever. On Memorial Day, we share the stories and contemplate the names and losses of those who died serving our great nation. These extraordinary men and women ensured our safety and freedom, but they also left families behind.
A word of thanks and a moment of pause seem not nearly enough to share our heartfelt appreciation to these families. As we reflect on the freedoms and liberties protected by the valor of their loved ones, the peace we experience thanks to their incredible sacrifice, we must continue to find ways to provide them with our support and remain committed to this goal.
Together we honor our fallen. Their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.