Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle helped honor the lives of Illinois’ fallen soldiers Monday by laying a wreath together at the base of Grant Park’s John Alexander Logan Monument.
The wreath-laying ceremony featuring the two politicians and others capped an annual Memorial Day event sponsored by the Chicago Cultural Mile Association. Passers-by stopped along Michigan Avenue to listen as speakers honored men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The event also honored Logan, a Civil War general and the founder of Decoration Day, which came to be known as Memorial Day.
“Those who enlist in the armed forces of the United States of America know they are signing a blank check, willing to sacrifice their very life for the greater good,” Cpl. Larry A. Shaver, president and CEO of American Veterans Helping Veterans, told the crowd. “For their families, their friends, and yes, even total strangers they have never met.”
Lightfoot said it was important not to treat Memorial Day simply as “another holiday.” She said she wanted to make sure the city “does everything it can to support our veterans.”
“We cannot have our veterans out on the street at night,” Lightfoot said.
Logan served in the Mexican-American War, then worked his way up to the rank of general during the Civil War. As the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, he recommended the creation of Memorial Day — originally known as Decoration Day — first observed May 30, 1868.
His monument in Grant Park was installed in 1897.