Rockton Memorial Day events honored and remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice
Patriotic music rang out in preparation for the 2022 Walter Graham Rockton American Legion Post #332 Memorial Day parade and remembrance ceremony on Monday, May 30.
Starting off the day's action was a wreath throwing ceremony on Blackhawk Bridge. The wreath is adorned with poppies which carry a special meaning, honoring all departed Navy veterans.
Sr. Vice Commander Tom Streck and his wife Angelika served as this year’s parade organizers.
Led by members of the American Legion Post #332, the parade route moved from Blackhawk down to Main Street, proceeded to Union Street, and concluding at the Rockton Township Cemetery where time was set aside to remember those who served and who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Color guards, Legion members, and the rifle squad marched or rode in different vehicles.
The Rockton Police Department, Rockton Cub Scout Pack 619, Boy Scouts and the Rockton Fire Department all made a mark by participating. The Hononegah High School marching band kept a medley of patriotic tunes rolling. Small American flags were handed out by parade participants who all drove American-themed vehicles.
All were welcomed to the 2022 observation of Memorial Day. “Today we will be honoring veterans as far back as 1812. We have so much history in our backyard, we need to keep all fallen veterans' memories alive,” Angelica Streck said.
Streck explained the importance and role of a Gold Star Mother. “When an active service duty member dies, his mother becomes a Gold Star Mother.”
Streck took inspiration through words shared from an unknown author.
“We must always say thank you for their service. Today is the most expensive day on the calendar. For every hot dog we eat and every picnic we have today, we honor those who paid it in their blood. This is a day to remember.”
Sr. Vice Commander Tom Streck introduced Dr. James Walker of Chicago. Walker is a Navy veteran who was in the Gulf War. Walker prayed for healing in the world around us and lifting up the lost. He asked for blessings on military families who stay behind, that all who serve be kept safe, and that the sins of our leaders be forgiven.
Parade organizer Angelica Streck, Rockton American Legion chaplain Amy Mullen, State of Illinois chaplain Gary Holme and Jr. Vice Commander Justin Johnson of the Rockton American Legion read a roll call of names of fallen comrades who served in the War of 1812 (June 1812 -February 1815), Spanish American War (April 21, 1898 - Dec. 10, 1898), World War I (July 28, 1914 -Nov. 11, 1918), World War II (Sept. 1, 1939- Sept. 2, 1945), Korean War (June 25, 1950-July 27, 1953), War Unknown, Civil War (April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865), Vietnam War (Nov. 1, 1955 - April 30, 1975), Desert Storm-Gulf War, Iraq War, (March 20, 2003 - Dec. 15, 2011) and area veterans buried elsewhere, which includes Walter Graham.
Ladies Auxiliary President Vicki Lynn and her husband Gene who is Sgt. At Arms for the Legion and Assistant Chaplain for the Rifle Squad respectfully laid the wreath followed by a salute.
All stood with hands over hearts as Hononegah’s marching band played our National Anthem.
Upon orders, the Rockton American Legion Rifle Squad honored departed comrades with a 21 gun salute. Rifle Squad members honored the flag by placing it at half-staff.
HHS band student Emma Krenz played a bone chilling version of Taps.
Special thanks were given by Post Commander Jim Griffin to all who made the day’s events possible and to the Rockton Fire Department, Police Department, Public Works Department, and the Hononegah Marching Band.
“Today, remember how these veterans keep the country free,” Griffin concluded.
Everyone was invited to a picnic at the American Center, (American Legion) along with blessings to have a wonderful day.
The Walter Graham American Legion Post #332 Rifle Squad gave a 21 gun salute to honor fallen comrades.
A flag raising ceremony was held as part of the Rockton Memorial Day ceremony at the Rockton Township Cemetery.
Ladies Auxiliary President Vicki Lynn and her husband Gene who serves as Sgt. At Arms for the Legion and Assistant Chaplain for the Rifle Squad prepared to lay the wreath.
One vehicle had a small float full of patriotic spirit! Small flags were handed out from others who accompanied this unit.
Walter Graham Post #332 American Legion members rode in style down the parade route.
Members of the Walter Graham American Legion Post #332 Ladies Auxillary had the opportunity to be in the parade via a ride option.