The Village of Lake Bluff celebrates Memorial Day in a big way

June 2, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lake Bluff celebrates Memorial Day in a big way

by Nancy Thorner

As I reverently made my way to Lake Bluff’s Memorial Day Ceremony on its Village Green, my steps quickened upon hearing the familiar strains of Sousa’s “Washington Post March” played by the LakeForest High School Band under the direction of Janene Kessler.

Upon reaching the Village Green, I mingled with the already large gathering of my fellow Lake Bluffers in front of the Gazebo who had come to pay their respects to all who have died fighting wars to protect this nation, one million in all.

It was strange to be welcomed to the solemn event by Post 510 Commander, David Cimarrusti, who assumed command of Post 510 after prior commander, Rudy Iberle, moved away from this area to be near his daughter.

I did, however, detect much respect for Commander Cimarruti, as I made the rounds to thank the assembled veterans as they watched the ceremony from chairs set up on the lawn. Walkers and canes accompanied the veterans, for, as in Lake Bluff, our veterans are not getting any younger. I was hearkened to see that there are still several WWII veterans as members of Lake Bluff’s American Legion Post 510.

As Commander David Cimarrusti informed those gathered, the last WWI veteran recently died, having spent WWII in a Philippine Prisoner of War Camp.

Although the seqence of the Memorial Day Ceremony was similar to past years, some of the faces were different. Always an appropriate and meaningful offering on Memorial Day was the reciting of the “Gettysburg Address” by Lake Bluff Middle School student, Helen Burkhardt.

Invited back for the second year was Lake Forest High School student, James Schmidt, with his beautiful solo renditions of “America the Beautiful” and the “National Anthem.”

Esther Featheroff, a Lake Bluffer, was tapped once again to recite “In Flanders’ Fields” in honor of her father who who was a British officer in WWI.

Also participating in the service were John Josephitis, a Village of Lake Bluff Trustee; Deacon James L. Kenny of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lake Forest; and Former Post 510 Commander Bob Mullenbach.

Lake Bluff Scout Troop 41, under the leadership of Jerry Phillip, was charged with raising the flag. With all eyes focused on “Old Glory,” slowly the flag made its way up the flag pole to come to rest fluttering in the light breeze against a sun-lit, blue sky. 

Watched with awe and respect each year is the Salute to Fallen Comrades performed by the Marine Air Control Group 48 Firing Detail NCOIC S/Sgt Chance Grey, USMC. It is always impressive to observe how the individuals who make up the Firing Detail stand at attention throughout the entire ceremony, resplendent in their uniforms, until it is time for them to execute their Fallen Comrades gun volleys.

The guest speaker was Colonel Todd Garlick, U.S. Army, who is the commander of the Eastern Sector, United States Military Entrance Processing Command. He graduated from West Point in May 1998 with a degree in Quantitative Engineering Management and received a Regular Army commission as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

Colonel Garlick had many previous assignments, including Commander of 502nd Personnel Services Battalion at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq. His military education is extensive as are his awards and decorations, among them the Expert Infantry Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

Colonel Garlick emphasized why Lake Bluff residents gathered as a town to celebrate Memorial Day. It was not the day pools opened, as he was once told when speaking to a group of students. Memorial Day, continued Garlick, unlike Veterans Day which honors all veterans whether living or dead, honors those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

Garlick spoke of wars from the Revolutionary War to the the Iraq War and beyond, where men and women have sworn to defend the Constitution against all enemies. They also swear to uphold an ideal and sign a blank check that might mean giving up their lives.

Garlick told of proud American who answer the call to duty whenever terrorists attack our land and seek safe havens abroad.

Colonel Garlick reminded those gathered that men and women are enlisted, but families are re-enlisted to provide a network of support for those who are left behind.

Of importance to Colonel Garlick is that while today is the day to honor the war dead, those veterans who have served and are still with us should not be forgotten in the days and months ahead. For according to Colonel Garlick, “For a nation to be successful, a nation must be willing to serve” and a truism if there ever was one,  “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

There were some last minute changes in the program. One notable one was the absence of our local state legislators, Senator Susan Garrett and Representative Karen May, who had to be in Springfield after the General Assembly was called into session over the Memorial Day weekend to take care of unfinished business before its adjournment on Tuesday, May 31.

Taking the place of Garrett and May in reading the Necrology were Village Trustee John Josephitis and former Commander Bob Mullenbach.

Words of praise are in order for Steven Papastefan and Alex Levin of the Lake Forest High School Band who flawlessly played “Taps” and the “Echo” response, respectively.

A word of thanks is also appropriate for Commander David Cimarrusti for the part he played in the memorable and inspirational Lake Bluff Memorial Day Ceremony in this his first year as Commander of of Lake Bluff Post 510.

Kudos goes to Colonel Tom Hamlin USMC (Ret.) who was in charge of organizing Lake Bluff’s Memorial Day event.

A wreath was placed on the Veteran’s Memorial at the corner of Center and Scranton Avenues by Colonel Garlick, John Josephitis, Bob Mullenbach, and David Cimarrusti.

Tom Tincher, a Korean War veteran and member of Post 510, videotaped the event for Channel 19 viewing.

Refreshment were held after the ceremony in the Community Room of the Public Safety Building, provided by the Legion Auxiliary, Dorothy Thomas presiding.

2 Responses to “The Village of Lake Bluff celebrates Memorial Day in a big way”

  1. Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and
    in depth information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information.
    Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    • nancyjthorner Says:

      Many thanks. I really appreciate that you are including my website to your Google account. I sometimes think that no one is reading what I write!

      Nancy Thorner

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