How Arlington Heights will mark Memorial Day weekend
Arlington Heights will commemorate its centennial of honoring the nation's fallen heroes in a variety of ways this weekend.
From a 5K/10K race to raise funds for a veterans organization on Saturday morning to the village's 100th parade and ceremony on Monday, here is how Arlington Heights is marking the holiday.
Salute Inc., the Palatine-based nonprofit that provides temporary financial assistance to injured military service members, veterans and their families, will host its annual 5K/10K Memorial Weekend race beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday at Recreation Park. Organizers say the race will go on rain or shine, except in the event of dangerous weather. In that case, the race may be delayed or canceled for safety reasons. Mayor Tom Hayes has again issued a challenge whereby he will donate $5 for every person who beats his time in the 5K, and Picket Fence Realty has committed to matching his donation up to $500.
More than 100 marching units with thousands of marchers and spectators are expected Monday for the centennial parade, which steps off at 9:30 a.m. from village hall at Arlington Heights Road and Sigwalt Street. It will follow a route west along Sigwalt to Dunton Avenue, then north to Euclid Avenue, west to Chestnut Avenue, and south to Memorial Park. What's become perhaps the largest Memorial Day parade in the suburbs traces its history to Sept. 6, 1919, when Arlington Heights residents welcomed home soldiers, sailors and nurses who served in World War I.
To mark the centennial, active-duty military will walk the parade route and hand out commemorative coins to veterans they spot. The Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights raised funds to produce 5,000 coins -- some of which have already been given out to fallen hero families, veterans, active military and others who have supported Memorial Day in Arlington Heights. The 1.75-inch-diameter coin features the eternal flame sculpture at Memorial Park on one side and the parade theme "Arlington Remembers" on the other.
At 11 a.m. at Memorial Park, the Memorial Day ceremony will include the annual reading of names of area veterans who died in the previous year, plus the names of 58 Arlington Heights residents who died in the service from the Civil War to the war in Afghanistan.
An Illinois Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter is expected to land at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the soccer field just east of Recreation Park and offer tours until about 2:30 p.m. The soccer field will be fenced off the day before, and there will be one entry and one exit point for visitors. On Monday, Douglas Avenue will be changed to one way going south and Hickory Avenue will be changed to one way going north. Organizers request that visitors park one or two blocks away from the park and walk in to avoid the congestion.
A 10-minute video tribute continues to air on YouTube and the village's cable access channels that recounts the history of Memorial Day in Arlington Heights. It was put together by a subcommittee that scoured the archives of the Daily Herald, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library and the Arlington Heights Historical Society for photos and stories of past parades and ceremonies.
Arlington International Racecourse is offering free admission Monday to all active military and veterans with a military ID. Gates open at noon with the first post at 1:25 p.m.