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About 150 persons, more than half of them standing, attended the annual Memorial Day services at Fountain Square on May 28. Representatives from Evanston American Legion Post 42, Technical Sergeant William B. Snell VFW Post 7186, VietNow, North Suburban Chapter and Northwestern University’s NROTC took part in the ceremonies. They stood in front of the sturdy red brick pillars bearing the names of Evanstonians who were killed in the service of their country, dating back to the Civil War.

As he has done for the past several years, Henry Revis led the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Fountain Square is sacred ground in Evanston,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “It is the names behind me that command our presence here. … Fountain Square is a place where we show shared greatness.”

David Davis of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s office, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin and Mayor Tisdahl echoed the themes of service, sacrifice and responsibility: All veterans sacrifice to keep the country free, some of them giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. It is the responsibility of this country, the speakers said, to honor the servicemen and -women, both while they are on active duty and when they return home.

“We give thanks and remember those soldiers who gave their lives so we could be free. … War has faded from our headlines, but families are still coping with the cost of war,” Mr. Davis said. Veterans who commit suicide “are also casualties of war. … We must redouble our commitment to serve those who serve, to [assure] access to care and services for veterans and their families,” he said.

“All those who serve are a credit to themselves, this country and their families. … We must remember those who were killed, remember their courage and remember their families,” said Commissioner Suffredin.

Mayor Tisdahl also said, “As we end the wars in Iran and Afghanistan, veterans need jobs. We hope to have a place where veterans can come to learn skills that will match jobs that are available.”

Commander Greg Wilson of American Legion Post 42, Charles Spivey of Snell Post 7186 and Commander Hal Shanafield of VietNow also spoke of how servicemen and -women protect this country’s freedom.

The service concluded with the laying of wreaths, a rifle salute by the NU ROTC and the playing of “Taps” by Evan Foley of Evanston Boy Scout Troop 3. Henry Kmieciak led the singing of “God Bless America,” and the crowd dispersed into an almost perfect summer day.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...