Norridge Memorial Day program set for Sunday
Norridge police officers Paul Malicki (right) and Steve Deutscher place a new flag on the flagpole at the Norridge Veterans Memorial while Norridge Village President Ronald Oppedisano (left) holds a worn flag that was symbolically burned during a flag retirement ceremony on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:29AM
The 19th annual Norridge Veterans Memorial Day Program this Sunday will feature speeches by a rear admiral, a Marine lieutenant colonel and the traditional wreath laying.
The village’s biggest outdoor ceremony every year, the hour-long ceremony begins at noon at the Norridge Veterans Memorial, adjacent to Village Hall, 4000 N. Olcott Ave.
“The whole idea of the day is to give respects to those Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Marco “Mark” Lymperopulos, public works director and vice chairman of the the village’s Memorial Committee
A native of Norridge and a U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, Lymperopulos and the village’s 13-member Memorial Committee have lined up Rear Admiral Tilghman D. Payne, Commander, Navy Region Midwest to speak.
He’ll be joined by Gary, Ind.-native Lt. Col. David S. Owen, inspector-instructor, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment.
However, the event’s centerpiece will be the ceremonial laying of wreaths at the granite obelisk and memorial wall at the Norridge Veterans Memorial.
“The wreath laying is always the highlight,” Lymperopulos said.
More than a dozen local groups will assemble at the police garage at the north end of the memorial and walk forward to lay wreaths. Traffic is stopped on Olcott Avenue by Irving Park Road.
As happened last year, U.S. Army veteran Dominic Sulimowski, a village trustee, is slated to be master of ceremonies.
Fellow Memorial Committee members and veterans Giovanni Sciortino, Dennis Sass and Richard Erickson will raise the American and POW/MIA flags to full-mast.
The Rev. Ray Hinsch will lead the crowd in prayer. Marine veteran Vaughn Watts will sing the national anthem.
U.S. Navy recruits from the Great Lakes Training Command will parade 50 state flags. The U.S.M.C., 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment will post colors.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart will have a ceramic display of Illinois veterans killed in action in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The ceremony traditionally draws between 250 and 400 people, Lymperopulos said, depending on the weather.
Last year, rain forced the ceremony inside village hall.
“We had to wing it,” Lymperopulos laughed a bit. “We improvised. That’s what Marines do.”
However, for Lymperopulos, 63, the day doesn’t end there.
He travels to two nearby cemeteries for more duties.
Two of his uncles served in World War II. His father served in World War I.
“Every year after the program, I place flags at their graves,” he says, “and whatever other tombs of veterans I see.”