On Memorial Day, at a packed Fountain Square, Evanston honored the men and women who gave their lives for their country. Byron Wilson, a World War II veteran, said he went to school and played ball with many of the men whose names were listed as killed in action in World War II on the pillars at the north end of the square. “The reason the pillars are here is to remind us we can congregate as a free people because these people made the supreme sacrifice,” he said. He opposes moving the pillars as part of any development plan, he said, adding, “I pray that these pillars behind me will remain here forever.”

Hal Shanafield, president of North Shore Vietnam Veterans, said, “Each and every one of the names on the pillars represents a real live person who has his or her own life story. They made the supreme sacrifice. We have our freedom today as a result of the sacrifice these individuals have made. How many times do we stop and think about the sacrifice these individuals have made for us?”

Gregory Lisinski, Commander of the Evanston American Legion Post 42, said, “We owe them all the honor and all the gratitude for their sacrifice.”

Cook County Board Commissioner Larry Suffredin said, “We are so thankful to the people whose names are listed on the wall behind me. But we also have to thank their families.”

Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, said, “What is terribly important is to remember that we, as a people and a nation, need to ensure that our service personnel will always be recognized, as we seek to do today, for their great service, sacrifice and commitment to the American way of life. We must never forget them. And we as a nation owe it to them to care for them, and, yes, where possible, reward them for their great service.”