Respect. Honor. Remember.

May 7, 2018

Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony is Saturday, May 26 Major General Charles W. Whittington Jr. will Serve as Grand Marshal

Christine Carrino, 312.744.0573


The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events are honored to announce the Grand Marshal for Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony on Saturday, May 26. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11am on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). The parade will then step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street., Major General Charles W. Whittington Jr., Deputy Commanding General (Vice “RC”), First United States Army, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

During the Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade, the City of Chicago honors fallen heroes and Gold Star family members who have lost a loved one in the United States Armed Forces to combat operations or while on active duty. Approved by Congress beginning in 1947, Gold Star Lapel Pins and the Next of Kin Lapel Pins are presented to families not as an award, but as symbols of honor worn by family members in remembrance of their fallen loved ones and their ultimate sacrifice.


Parade Grand Marshal

MG Charles W. Whittington Jr., Deputy Commanding General (Vice “RC”), First United States Army, will serve as the Grand Marshal. Maj. Gen. Whittington was assigned as the First Army Deputy Commanding General-Operations August 16, 2015. He is responsible for assisting the Commanding General with the training, readiness and mobilization of all Army National Guard and Army Reserve units across the United States and two U.S. territories. Maj. Gen. Whittington is a career Field Artillery Officer and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. For the Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade, he will join Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with service members, veterans and Gold Star families in remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.


Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award

1st Sgt. Joseph “Eric” Bierbrodt of the Illinois Army National Guard is this year’s recipient of the Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award for his leadership, patriotism and selfless devotion to the military family. On February 7, 1st Sgt. Bierbrodt of Sheridan, Illinois, escorted kindergartener Cayleigh Hinton from Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, to her first father-daughter dance at Our Lady of Humility School. Her father, U.S. Army Sgt. Terrence Hinton who served with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division based in Oahu, Hawaii, died in a military training accident in 2017. Hinton enlisted in 2009 and served at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, before moving to Hawaii in 2016. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and Kuwait in 2014 for a total of 21 months. Cayleigh’s mother, Jillian Hinton, describes her as “Daddy’s little girl.” 1st Sgt. Bierbrodt formally asked Cayleigh to the dance upon his arrival at the family’s home, presenting her with a six-foot stuffed dog in an Army jacket and then escorted her to the dance in a limousine. Cayleigh Hinton and her mother Jillian Hinton will be in attendance at the Wreath Laying Ceremony.


Cadets of the Year Award

The mission of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is to motivate young people to be better citizens. Each year the City of Chicago acknowledges the outstanding contributions of our cadets to our community by honoring JROTC students with the Cadet of the Year Award. Cadet Command Sergeant Major Hannah Erdos and Cadet Brigadier General Lincoln Rodgers, both from Lane Tech College Prep High, have been chosen this year for their commitment to excellence and as role models to their peers. Both students have stellar academic records and are deserving of this award. Each cadet will receive a scholarship for future academic endeavors awarded by Tom Day and his organization Bugles Across America.

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died. The day, first observed on May 30, 1868, was called Decoration Day. The modern day event is similar, but the original idea has been expanded and now honors all fallen soldiers.

The Chicago parade is considered one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation. Participants in the parade include area high school marching bands, drum and bugle corps as well as many veterans’ groups, 6,000 JROTC cadets and the military.

The Chicago Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony are presented by the City of Chicago. For more information about the Illinois Gold Star, visit For more information regarding the ceremony and the parade, please visit


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


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