Roughly 60 people gathered Sunday for a ceremony at the DuPage County Veterans' Memorial in Wheaton to honor and remember residents who died in military service.
The memorial at the county complex lists the names of every DuPage resident killed in a U.S. war since the Blackhawk War of 1832.
"It (Memorial Day) is a day that is worth reflecting on, the rest of the day and the rest of your life," said George Kouba, treasurer of the DuPage Veterans' Memorial Commission.
That's what the designer of the sculpture at the center of the memorial wanted. Dedicated in 1999, the memorial was designed by a high school student, and the tip of a long style on it serves as a sundial.
"Five thousand two-hundred and fifty-nine times since this was dedicated, that style has been a shadow over every one of those plates, every day. It is a remembrance of everybody on those plates," Kouba said.
Kouba noted that June 6 will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied France in World War II.
"Everybody in every war has a story, but World War II has a mega-story," he told the crowd, describing D-Day as "one of the most important historical turns for the freedom of this country ever."
Colors were presented at the Veterans' Memorial and at the nearby Blue Star Memorial, also on the grounds. White crosses bearing the names of 16 county residents who died of injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan were placed in a semicircle around the marker's plaza. There also was a cross for Navy Cmdr. Dan Shanower of Naperville, who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Gold Star family members attending the ceremony included those of Marine Sgt. David Caruso of Naperville, who died in Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2004, and those of Army Pfc. Leonard J. Gulczynski II of Carol Stream, who died in Iraq in 2008.