CHICAGO — A longtime tradition returned to Chicago this weekend, with the Daley Plaza Memorial Day ceremony resuming in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ceremony honors Gold Star families, those who have lost loved ones while serving in the Armed Forces.
“We are a band of brothers. We talk to each other like no one else,” Gold Star father Jim Frazier said.
Nearly 20 years ago, Frazier joined the ranks of Gold Star families after his son, staff sergeant Jacob Frazier was killed during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2003.
“Today, you said their names. That means everything to us. Saying their names because that shows that they’re remembered. Their spirit lives on,” Frazier said.
The smaller footprint of the ceremony stands in stark contrast to the 2019 ceremony, the last event attended by thousands of people prior to the pandemic.
The city’s ceremony is among the largest in the country honoring military members who were killed while serving.
“It’s not happy Memorial Day, it’s honored Memorial Day,” Frazier said.