MEMORIAL DAY – DOWNTOWN ROCKFORD IL
Memorial Day 2013, Veterans Memorial Hall is proud to welcome President Theodore Roosevelt to Rockford, Illinois. President Roosevelt (aka Joe Wiegand), will be in town to rededicate Veterans Memorial Hall, delivering the same speech the real Theodore Roosevelt gave in the original dedication of the building in 1903. The rededication will be part of a grand ceremony to honor all area veterans and a tribute to those whose lives were lost in service to the United States.
Just as on June 3rd 1903, the day’s events will begin with the annual Memorial Day parade in which President Roosevelt will ride. The main program will follow the end of the parade and will include a reading of the G.A.R’s General Order 11 and addresses from this year’s parade Grand Marshal Chief Master Sergeant Alvin “Al” L. Blake, City of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen, President Roosevelt and area veteran organizations.
The doors of Veterans Memorial Hall will then be opened to the public, where the Sons of the Union of the Civil War Logan Camp 26 will provide a detailed account of the history and original dedication of one of Rockford’s most important landmark buildings.
Other activities of the day will include an ice cream social, a ceremonial dove release and the annual naval riverfront ceremony and sinking of a ship.
Decoration Day/Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Many Americans have forgotten that Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving our county. Upwards of 48 million Americans have served the cause of freedom and more than a million have died to preserve our liberty. We also remember the more than 140,000 who were taken prisoner-of-war and the many others who were never accounted for. These memories remind us that the cost of war and the price of peace are great. Veterans Memorial Hall wishes to help remind us of the true meaning and traditions of Memorial Day.