Wreath laying ceremony -  Lake Bluff Memorial to those who have sacrificed their lives.
Wreath laying ceremony – Lake Bluff Memorial to those who have sacrificed their lives.

Just down the road from Great Lakes Navy Base on Sheridan Road, the Village of Lake Bluff is honored each year to have the 21-gun “Salute to Fallen Comrades” performed by the Marine Air Control Group 48 Firing Detail.  Resplendent in their military uniforms. the ceremony never fails to capture the undivided attention of both young and old alike.

This year’s guest speaker was Lt. Col. Stacy Flippin, Staff Judge Advocate, United States Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM), headquartered in North Chicago.  There are 65 MEPCOM locations throughout the U.S. through which men and women must pass on their way to basic training.

Lt. Col. Flippin spoke about the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, also known as JAG or JAG Corps, as a “slice of life” in the military not captured on TV on in the movie theater.  The Army JAG corps was founded by Gen. George Washington in 1775.  Officers serving in the JAG Corps are typically called Judge Advocates.  They serve as legal advisors to the command to which they are assigned, also serving as prosecutors for the military when conducting court-martials.  As Judge Advocates, members are soldiers first and lawyers second.   As a way to keep the commitment and sacrifice of seven JAG Corp members alive who died while serving their county, Lt. Col. Flippin highlighted their service and the year of their ultimate  sacrifice.

Other highlights included the participation of Lake Bluff Boy Scout Troop 42 in the raising of the flag; recitation of the “Gettysburg Address” by Ursula Nugent, Student Council president of the Lake Bluff Middle School; and the Lake Forest High School Band conducted by Jenene Kessler.

Noteworthy, and a Memorial Day tradition, was the reciting of “In Flanders Fields,” by long-time  Lake Bluff resident, Esther Fetherolf, a poem written during the First World War.  Despite Esther’s age and her obvious frailness, her voice was strong and filled with pride as she recited the poem from memory.

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.

In the absence of State Senator Julie Morrison, D-29th District and State Representative Scott Drury, D-58th District, the Necrology was read by Thomas Dickelman, Minister, Community Church, Lake Forest-Lake Forest and Kathy O’Hara, President, Lake Bluff Village Board.  Senator Morrison and Representative Scott Drury were needed down in Springfield to vote on whether to make permanent what was billed as a temporary income tax hike, as well as a possible vote on The Equal Rights Amendment — approved by the Senate last Friday — which would have destructive effects on both women and men, their families, and our society.

Prior to the Wreath Ceremony, Post 510 Commander David Cimarrusti had these closing thoughts to say, but not before reminding those gathered not to forget our Wounded Warriors who have paid a lasting and sometimes horrific price for their service.

“We are fortunate to have an all voluntary force to take up arms. Thanks for being here to honor those men and women who gave so much through the ages.  May we never allow to slip from our minds that freedom is not free.”