CHICAGO (CBS) — On Monday towns across Illinois hosted parades and ceremonies as tributes to fallen heroes.
About 50 miles outside Chicago, some families honored their loved ones in a more quiet place.
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reports from a cemetery in Elwood.
Jerry Allen never lets Memorial Day go by without visiting his brother-in-law.
“He had seven kids with my sister. Good guy. Beautiful guy.”
Despite warm memories and the nearly 100 degree day, Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery gives the Vietnam War vet chills.
“I had friends, a lot of friends that got killed in Vietnam,” he said. “You kind of think about it and you’re kind of down.”
The heaviness of the holiday makes these crowds even more special to the grandson of army specialist Phil Szymel.
“As a Marine, it kind of gives me chills thinking you know, that people show their respect properly,” said Matthew Szymel.
The somber mood inspires 12-year-old Tyler Martino.
“My cousin is currently serving in the Army and I plan on doing it once I get old enough,” he said.
It’s also nice to see the younger generation here, says the granddaughter of Purple Heart recipient Leo Rozanski.
“We like to bring them to the memorial services or bring them to the veterans,” said Susan Bussey.
Allen too appreciates those who honor the official reason behind the unofficial kickoff to summer.
“It ain’t all about having fun. It’s about war.”