Major General Rodney Boyd to Serve as Grand Marshal at City of Chicago’s 2023 Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Saturday, May 27

April 28, 2023

Commemorating the Illinois National Guard 300 year Anniversary

DCASE Communications

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CHICAGO — The City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) are honored to announce the Grand Marshal for Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade and Wreath Laying Ceremony on Saturday, May 27. The Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at 11am at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St). The Parade will step off at noon and proceed south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Major General Rodney Boyd, Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard, will serve as the parade’s Grand Marshal. Originally from Chicago’s South Side, Major General Boyd is the highest-ranking African American Officer in Illinois National Guard’s 300 year history.

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.

The Illinois National Guard is celebrating their 300-year anniversary by commemorating significant dates in its history with communities across the state that share that history. Founded on May 9, 1723, the Illinois National Guard has and continues to draw its strength from the community. The National Guard is the oldest component of the U.S. military and the only military component with both state and federal missions.

The Wreath Laying Ceremony at 11am will also be livestreamed at For additional information about the Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade, visit

Parade Grand Marshal
Major General Rodney Boyd is the Assistant Adjutant General – Army of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Army National Guard. The highest-ranking Black and officer of color in Illinois National Guard history, his previous assignment was as the Assistant Chief of Staff, J4 (Wartime), United States Forces Korea.

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Major General Boyd began his military career as a Marine Corps Reservist in 1982. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps in August 1990 upon completion of the Illinois Army National Guard Officer Candidate School. He was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait, commanding the 1644th Transportation Company, the 405th Brigade Support Battalion, and the 108th Sustainment Brigade.

In addition to his military achievements, Major General Boyd served with the Bellwood Police Department for 23 years, retiring as Chief of Police. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Northern Illinois University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a second Master of Arts degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award
Modie Lavin, Senior Outreach Coordinator for the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families, will be honored as the recipient of the Major General John A. Logan Patriot Award. Lavin is a Gold Star Mother to Corporal Conner T. Lowry, who died during combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012. In honor of her son's sacrifice,

Lavin is active in the Illinois Gold Star Family community and is Vice President of the Illinois Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers, as well as co-chair of the Conner T. Lowry Memorial Foundation. Through her work, she has helped hundreds of veterans receive high-quality, evidence-based treatment for the invisible wounds of war, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Lavin’s passion, dedication and tireless efforts have had a profound impact on the veteran and military community as she continues to honor and remember all who served.

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 Cadets of the Year Award.

Mariacarmen Arce will be honored as the 2023 Female Cadet of the Year. Arce is the number one ranked senior at Phoenix STEM Military Academy, and currently serves as the Company Commander for the PSMA Battalion. She has also held the titles of First Sergeant and Color Guard Commander and served on the PSMA Drill Team, in addition to her role as a leader on the JLAB Leadership Team. Arce’s JROTC honors include: JROTC Academic Excellence, JROTC Proficiency Ribbon, JROTC Parade and Good Conduct Ribbons, JROTC Varsity Athletic Ribbon, JROTC Recruiting Ribbon, LET Service Ribbon and JROTC Perfect Attendance Ribbon.

Arce has volunteered at homeless shelters, St. Procopius Church, the Chicago Park District’s Harrison Park, and served as the President of PSMA’s National Honor Society. Arce’s post-graduation goals include pursuing a professional degree in trauma medicine.

Andres Flores, Jr. will be honored as the 2023 JROTC Male Cadet of the Year. Flores is the number one ranked senior at Carver Military Academy, and currently serves as the Brigade Cadet Command Sergeant Mayor. Flores is a member of Carver’s varsity track and cross-country teams, the Carver Raider Team, Drill Team, and Color Guard. Flores’ JROTC honors include the Superior Cade Award, Academic Excellence Ribbon, Leadership Development Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon, and the JROTC Athletic Ribbon.

Flores’ volunteer work includes 345 service hours, as well as repairing car brakes and oil changes. He is also bilingual in Spanish. Flores’ post-graduation goals include pursuing a career in software engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The Memorial Day Parade will be emceed by Audrina Bigos of CBS Chicago. Bigos is an Emmy-award winning anchor who joined CBS Chicago in 2015. She has been on the front line of some of the biggest breaking news stories in Chicago and her live coverage of major breaking stories has led to several regional Emmy nominations. Bigos is the proud daughter of two U.S. Army veterans - Michael and Linda Bigos.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder, and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city—to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events, and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city—serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago. For details, visit and stay connected via our newsletters and social media.


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