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Memorial Day ceremony held in Ford Hangar: ‘May we never forget what they have done’

LANSING, Ill. (May 27, 2024) – Something as simple as rain could not stop a large crowd from honoring those who have died in service to America. The Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard (LVMCHG) conducted its annual Memorial Day service on Sunday on the campus of the Lansing Municipal Airport.

Normally an outdoor event held under the Vietnam helicopter at the corner of Burnham Avenue and Glenwood-Lansing Road, the service was moved across the parking lot and into the historic Ford Hangar to avoid the weather.

The sliding doors on the north side of the Ford Hangar were opened to allow the public to gather for Sunday’s Memorial Day ceremony. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Rich Dominiak, ceremony coordinator for the LVMCHG, said the event hadn’t been held inside since 2012, when there was threat of a tornado in the area.

History and youth

The ceremony included posting the American flag, posting flags of the branches of the United States Armed Forces, the posting of burial flags by Lansing Boy Scout Troop 276, the placing of wreaths by individuals and organizations, and a rifle salute by the Department of Defense Rifle Team.

Memorial Day
Lansing Boy Scout Troop 276 prepares to post burial flags as part of the Sunday ceremony. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Isabelle Abbasy, a fifth-grader at Highland Christian School, performed the Star-Spangled Banner.

“I’m pretty nervous but also excited at the same time,” Abbasy said. “It’s a huge honor.”

Isabelle Abbasy sang the Star-Spangled Banner on Sunday. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Isabelle is the daughter of Village of Lansing Trustee Saad Abbasy, who looked on proudly and reflected on the importance of the event.

“It’s important to recognize those that have gone before and given the ultimate price for this country, our freedoms,” Saad Abbasy said.

Memorial Day
Lansing Trustee Saad Abbasy poses with his daughter, Isabelle, before her performance of the national anthem on Sunday. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Invocation and tradition

Deacon Philip Wroblewski of Jesus, Shepherd of Souls Parish in Calumet City, gave the invocation. He said Memorial Day mourns both the loss of the men and women who gave their lives and the sad reality of war.

“Though their names may fade from the passing of generations, may we never forget what they have done,” Wroblewski said.

Deacon Philip Wroblewski gives the invocation at a Memorial Day service held Sunday in Lansing. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)
Members of the Department of Defense Honor Guard head outside the hangar to perform the traditional rifle salute. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Following a rifle salute by the Department of Defense Honor Guard, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jack Chavez performed Taps. Chavez is a member of Bugles Across America, a group that works to see that a live version of Taps is performed at funerals of deceased military members.

Chavez served as the main speaker for Sunday’s service. He explained that Taps is traditionally played to mark the end of the day.

“For our fallen members, it’s the last tribute to their service and their dedication to their duty,” he said.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jack Chavez plays Taps at a Memorial Sunday service in Lansing. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

Wreaths and memories

Gloria Chavez-Gomez, of Lansing, presented a wreath as a member of the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club.

The event had special meaning to Chavez-Gomez since she lost her brother, Private Antonio G. Chavez, in the Vietnam War.

“A good motto to remember is, their duty was to serve and our duty is to be able to remember them,” Chavez-Gomez said. “Remember their legacy, keep them alive.”

Memorial Day
A member of Lansing Boy Scout Troop 276 presents a burial flag on Sunday. (Photo: Paul Czapkowicz)

John and Eva Kennedy, of Lansing, also were in attendance.

Eva also helped place a wreath with the Lansing Junior Woman’s Club, while John remembered his father, a veteran of World War II.

“He ingrained in us, if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be here,” Kennedy said. “We wouldn’t have our freedom.”

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Paul Czapkowicz
Paul Czapkowicz
Paul Czapkowicz has served as a correspondent for the Northwest Indiana Times, so he is familiar with local politics, local business, and local goings-on in general. His training as a teacher gives him an innate sense of how to present facts in an organized and meaningful way, so readers gain understanding of complex subjects.