It rained on Homewood's parade, but it could not rain out Homewood's parade.
The annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Wally Burns VFW Post 8077 went on as planned. The route from Chestnut Road to Olive Road to the Veterans Memorial on Harwood Avenue was crowded with people. And umbrellas.
A moderate shower passed through the village just a few minutes before the parade was scheduled to start, and a spattering of rain came during the parade, but the crowd ignored the weather and cheered veterans and marching bands as they passed.
The parade was led by an honor guard sponsored by the South Suburban Chiefs of Police Association and accompanied by bagpiper Tom Houst.
Boy Scouts from Troop 364 kept the audience well-supplied with American flags before the parade and a number of Scouts walked the parade route, too.
The parade also included public safety vehicles; marching bands from Homewood-Flossmoor High School, James Hart Junior High School and Parker Junior High School; veterans and representatives of veterans organizations and Homewood village officials, Trustees Anne Colton and Jay Heiferman and Mayor Richard Hofeld.
The skies briefly threatened more rain after the parade arrived at the Veterans Memorial, but soon the clouds began to break up, letting sunshine take over — much to the relief of the James Hart Orchestra with its wooden stringed instruments, which are vulnerable to excessive moisture.
"We've played every year since 2001, and we're not going to miss it," said orchestra Director Sara White.
Post 8077 Commander John Beele served as master of ceremonies for the event, and he introduced Fr. Daniel Jarosewic of St. Joseph Catholic Church to deliver the invocation.
He characterized Memorial Day as a way of compensating for a tendency to take freedom for granted.
"Freedom, like oxygen, is everything we just have," he said. "Today we remember a sacrifice made and a debt we can never repay."
Jarosewic was followed on the program by Hofeld, who noted the origins of the Memorial Day holiday in the aftermath of the Civil War.
"We continue to honor and respect those who gave their lives," he said. "We all have had a chance to have a good life. They never did."
Beele noted that Memorial Day is a world-wide observance, and said he heard from a relative that the Dutch care for a cemetery where U.S. soldiers are buried and hold Memorial Day ceremonies there.
"They couldn't be more proud to be part of it," he said.
Wreaths were presented as memorials for those lost in five war periods, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Middle East wars from the Gulf War to the present.
Following the wreath-laying ceremony, Houst played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, and the honor guard fired a rifle salute. Members of the H-F Viking Choir sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." Taps was performed by an H-F band bugler, and the full band also performed the national anthem.
The Rev. Timothy Biel, pastor of St. Andrew United Methodist Church, gave the benediction.
Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]
The H-F Viking Choir performance was not mentioned in the original version of this story. The HF Chronicle regrets the omission.
H-F Viking Choir: br>
(Video provided by HF Fine & Performing Arts Council)
H-F High School Marching Band
James Hart Junior High School Marching Band:
Park Junior High School Marching Band