Memorial Day – a Monument in the Center of Town

  • Mike McCurry
  • 05/28/16
While walking by Village Hall recently, I stopped at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Burlington Avenue to wait for the cars to go by.
I couldn’t help but to notice a stone memorial planted firmly in the north east corner of those two streets, located on the village’s property. It must have been an important structure for the townspeople some time ago to erect such a massive structure at the epicenter of town. The brass plaque in the center reads: Clarendon Hills Honor Roll World War II.
With this upcoming holiday, I looked up Memorial Day on Wikipedia. Like many people, I oftentimes confuse Memorial and Veterans Day.
Memorial Day (always on the last Monday in May) is a day of remembering the women and men who died while serving in the military and Veterans Day (November 11th) is a day we celebrate and thank our military veterans for their service.
Unlike some of the Hallmark holidays that have popped up in my lifetime like: “Sweetest Day”, “Bosses Day” and “Administrative Professionals Day”, I think we would agree that Memorial day should be distinguished as carrying greater weight.
My family will join the Memorial Day parade in Hinsdale with my wife’s parents (Her dad, David Antrim is a Vietnam veteran).
It usually begins at Bronswood Cemetery in Oak Brook around 7 a.m. and includes the playing of “Taps” and a rifle salute.
We enjoy sitting afterwards on the lawn of the Hinsdale memorial building listening to a program during which the names of Hinsdale residents who died in service are read along with the poem, “In Flanders Fields”.
Our 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, said the following about Memorial Day (which was then styled Decoration Day): “I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.”
There are 184 names inscribed on that memorial on the corner of Prospect and Burlington. That number seemed high, given that in 1940, there were just under 1300 people living in Clarendon Hills. This is a town, however, where people have always sacrificed a lot for others.
Six of the names on the plague are highlighted with a star: Paul Ederle, Frank Nobal, Danny J. Frydle, William F Washburn, William J. Kipp, and Robert Young. After researching these men, I found that they died in service to our country.
Like the well-placed memorial at Village Hall, we should put front and center on this day of remembering. After all, the people we are remembering died for you and for me.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian prince; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business or announces school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.

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