100 years in the making -- video highlights Memorial Day in Arlington Heights

Daily Herald report
Updated 5/23/2019 9:28 AM

A video 100 years in the making that highlights how Arlington Heights has marked Memorial Days over the years can now be seen in a variety of places.

Organizers of Arlington Heights' centennial Memorial Day parade and ceremony this year produced the 10-minute video to recount what's been described as the town's annual "Norman Rockwell" experience.


Using archival photos and videos, the short film tracks the history of Arlington Heights' parade since its began Sept. 6, 1919, when residents welcomed home soldiers, sailors and nurses who served in World War I. The event eventually moved to Memorial Day and became an annual remembrance of the town's fallen heroes.

The 58 Arlington Heights residents who died in military service, from the Civil War to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, have special prominence in the video.

The video's old black-and-white photos, as well as more-recent images, document the history of what's become one of the largest Memorial Day gatherings in the suburbs: veterans on floats wearing the hats and uniforms of their service branches, citizens and Scout troops carrying American flags, high school bands marching to the beat of their music, and residents lining the parkways holding "Arlington Remembers" signs.

The video is just one way the village's Veterans Memorial Committee is marking the centennial of Memorial Day in Arlington Heights. The committee is also distributing 5,000 commemorative coins for fallen hero families, veterans, active military and supporters. And on the day of the parade and ceremony May 27, an Illinois National Guard helicopter will land in Recreation Park and be available for tours.

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Deborah Nelson, a member of the committee and American Legion Auxiliary, led the video research project, finding the stories and images of past parades and ceremonies. Helping her was Bill Kruser of Images by David Kay, Ltd. and the Arlington Heights Camera Club.

The video was scripted by Jim Thomson, board president of the Arlington Heights Historical Society, produced at a studio in the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, and distributed by Kevin Corcoran of Arlington Heights-based Lorelle Communications.

Along with dailyherald.com, the video can be seen on the village's cable access channels -- 6 on WideOpenWest, 17 on Comcast and 99 on AT&T U-verse. It also is available online on the village's YouTube channel.

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