Memorial Day Parade
It’s May and that means it’s time to start into summer mode. Regular outdoor activities and special events like Cruise Nights and the Art Festival get underway by the end of this month. The official start of the summer season is, of course, Memorial Day – and Memorial Day in Barrington is a very special day.
Sometimes it rains or is overcast, but more often it seems Memorial Day is a bright sunny day with a beautiful blue sky over Barrington. One can feel the excitement in the fresh air when approaching the Veterans memorial area at Cook and Main Streets. By 10:00 a.m., people are filling the sidewalks in anticipation of the 10:30 a.m. flag salute and parade. The school band, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and veterans of all branches of our military line up in the streets and soon it is time to come to attention. The flag raising and salute at the flag pole are solemn moments marking the beginning of this memorial event, and evoking a sense of patriotism deep inside of those assembled.
The parade route down Main Street and up Dundee Avenue to Evergreen Cemetery is lined with moms and dads, teens, toddlers, and grandparents – some holding flags, and some dressed in red, white and blue. All attendees respectfully clap for the representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine who have served their country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in many other places in between, as they pass by on their way to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Words cannot adequately convey the feeling in Evergreen Cemetery as the parade surrounds the monument on the hill erected in 1906 “in memory of our heroes of the Civil War.” On Memorial Day, the current patriotic Barringtonians stand surrounded, as well, by the stone grave markers of those who stood in Barrington honoring patriotic heroes over 100 years before.
The memorial service conducted by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars at the cemetery touches the heart – from the reading of the names of those veterans from Barrington who have passed in the last year, to the beautiful acappella songs from Barrington choir students, to the recitation of memorial poems like “In Flanders Fields”, to the wreath and flowers laying at the monument by sincere young scouts, to the rousing 21-gun salute and finally, to the closing notes of “Taps” with its spectral echo.
A sense of honor, respect, and patriotism is palpable on Memorial Day in Barrington. This day embodies something that is quintessentially Barrington.