One veteran saluting the flag while taps is played.

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On a sunny Memorial Day about 100 persons gathered at Fountain Square to honor veterans, living and dead, remember their sacrifice and extol the freedoms of this country that they guard with their lives.

Speaking for Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Tania Rodriguez said, “Today, on Memorial Day, we pause to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country.”

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “Those of us here at Fountain Square know that this is more than a three-day weekend. … Fountain Square reminds us that our freedom came at a price.”

Hal Shanafield of VietNow North Suburban Chapter, said, “We gather here today not to mourn but to celebrate” the lives of men and women who served this country.

Clifford Washington, commander of Snell VFW Post 42, recognized Evanstonians Mark and Paula Hayes, whose son and stepson, Captain Matthew Freeman, was killed in Afghanistan.