ELBURN – A large group of people gathered in the heat of the day when the temperature was reaching to the high 80s at Blackberry Township Cemetery on May 28 for a Memorial Day ceremony to honor fallen veterans. The ceremony was led by the Elburn American Legion Post 630 with the help of Blackberry Township and village of Elburn.
Elburn Cub Scout Pack 107 also hosted a pancake breakfast at the American Legion in Elburn prior to the ceremony. Christine Hiaacs, mother to Boy Scout troop member
Auston Hiaacs for Pack 107, was pleased to have her son participate in the Memorial Day event by serving at the pancake breakfast.
“We had a conversation about giving back to people who served,” Hiaacs said. “This is a small thank-you he can do for the veterans who are still here. I’m glad he is old enough to give back. It’s nice that we can honor those who went and didn’t come back home to their children and spouses.”
Pack 107 Troop Leader Fred Grisch believes this is a great experience for his troop.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the young boys to show their appreciation,” Grisch said. “Everyone always enjoys seeing people be involved in honoring veterans.”
A riderless horse was a new addition to the Memorial Day Parade that began at Lions Park and stopped at the cemetery to start the ceremony. Senior Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 630 Mark Krebs explained the significance of having a riderless horse in the parade.
“Dan Kolzow, Junior Vice Commander for the post, had the idea to add a riderless horse to the ceremony this year,” Krebs said. “The riderless horse is commonly known as the caparisoned horse and is used to honor people in the rank of colonel. The riderless horse has a bridal, a saddle, shoes placed backwards in the stirrups and a rifle through the stirrups. There won’t be a rifle today as we are honoring all fallen veterans and not just one.”
Krebs read a speech Lt. Gen. John Kelly, who is currently the White House Chief of Staff to President Donald Trump, gave on November 13, 2010. Krebs acknowledged that some people in the audience “may not be a fan” of Trump and in return not a fan of Kelly, but he thought this speech would leave a greater appreciation of the veterans who passed while serving our country. The speech told a story about two Marines who were killed in Iraq during a suicide bombing.
The names of the veterans who passed and were buried at the Blackberry Township Cemetery and other places was read by Karen Howard. Howard is in charge of collecting all the names each year of local veterans and asked the people gathered to let her or one of the American Legion members know if there were any names not mentioned that needed to be on the list. Howard also addressed the group of people to let them know why reading the names is an important task.
“By reading these names, this is one small way we can honor the veterans who passed,” Howard said. “For some families, this is the only time they will hear those names read of veterans who died a long time ago.”
Kaneland Harter Middle School’s eighth-grade band led by director Rebecca Anderson performed several songs two of which included “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”
Elburn residents and retired Kaneland High School teachers, Patty Welker and her husband Norm Welker, enjoy having the opportunity to attend the Memorial Day event.
“It gives us a moment to pause for thought,” Patty Welker said. “The Boy Scout troop seems like a healthy organization with both older and younger scouts.”
Norm Welker served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. This spring, he became a new member of the American Legion.
“It’s a good feeling to get together and give back to the community,” Norm Welker said.