By Burt Constable
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Enjoying a glorious, sunny parade Saturday in Rolling Meadows as he remembered the military men and women who died while serving our nation, Army Reserve Col. Rob Carlson proclaimed Memorial Day "a day of reverent celebration."
"It's one of the great things about America that we have so many people come out to honor our troops," said Carlson, a Hawthorn Woods resident who serves as commander of the Army Reserve 646th Regional Support Group based in Madison, Wis.
About 200 people watched the annual parade and attended the program at the city's Carillon Tower, which honors veterans.
"I'm out here every year to celebrate our veterans," said lifelong Rolling Meadows resident Alan Palmer, 56, who watched the parade with his mother. Palmer said his father, Willard Palmer, who died in 1975, served in the Navy, and so did his sister, Leslie Ohm.
The annual Memorial Day parade had vanished from Rolling Meadows a generation ago.
"They used to do it back in the 1960s and then it dropped off," Mayor Tom Rooney recalled. "In 1999, we brought it back. People like coming out. It's part of the routine of Rolling Meadows now."
Carlson, who earned a Bronze Star during his active duty, works as an electronic warfare program manager for Northrop Grumman, the military contractor and global security company located in Rolling Meadows. A veteran in his 32nd year of military service, Carlson, an Elk Grove Village native, was the keynote speaker at Friday's "Veterans Dinner," hosted by the city's veterans committee.
"The importance of Memorial Day," Carlson said, "can never be overstated."