CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the Memorial Day Parade where everybody marches and nobody watches, but this year, WOOGMS Parade participants all watched on Facebook Live.
“The WOOGMS marchers have slogged through thunderstorms and snow, and for the first time, we can’t march today, so we’re going virtual,” parade marshal Tony Weisman said as the event began with the original WOOGMS (Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society) Parade flag behind him.
There were some celebrity participants this year – including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Gov. JB Pritzker, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, and members of the 19th (Town Hall) police district.
There were also memories from longtime participants and videos from the parade’s 57-year history.
To mark the first virtual parade in WOOGMS history, organizers have tweaked the well-known motto of “Everybody Marches, Nobody (just) Watches” to Everybody Marches, and Everybody Watches.”
WOOGMS has held Memorial and Labor Day parades since 1963. DNAinfo reported in 2013 that it started in Oakdale Avenue resident Al Weisman’s neighbor gave him a five-foot flagpole – and he decided to hold a march with the flagpole accompanied by local kids.
On that occasion, fewer than 10 children attended – with one girl strumming the Israeli national anthem “Hatikva” on a violin, DNAinfo reported.
But the parade took off and continues on 57 years later.