By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Daily Republican
Veterans lead the way down State Street for the Memorial Day Parade in Belvidere.


The Memorial Day Parade in Belvidere was organized by the Belvidere VFW Post 1461 and the American Legion Post 77. Veterans carrying flags led off followed by a phalanx of more veterans, Belvidere and Boone County notables and the Belvidere High School and the Belvidere North High School bands. The band preceded local boy and Girl Scout troops. Many members of the community lined State Street to watch the parade and be a part of the Memorial Day ceremony at the bridge.

VFW Commander Greg Kelm officiated as the Master of Ceremonies. He began, “Thanksgiving is a day when we pause to give thanks for all we have. Memorial Day is a day we pause and give thanks and remember all the people who fought for all the things we have. Many paid with their very young lives.

“It is the Soldier, not the minister who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag who allows the protester to burn the flag.”

He introduced Ann Selma Castro, a Gold Star family sister. Her brother, served in the 355th Infantry in Germany. He died on Feb. 25, 1945 while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. Commander Kelm offered her the opportunity to toss a wreath commemorating all those who served their country to their final breath. A 21-gun salute followed the wreath over the river.

“To me it is an honor and a privilege to throw the wreath on Memorial Day,” Castro said. “To remember our loved ones who died for us to be free and for us to remember the hardships they went through for us. It is an honor to be a member of the Gold Star family. I was only ten years old when the teacher told me to go pick up a telegram. Everyone knew what a telegram meant,” she said. “I wanted to…

For complete article, pick up the June 3 BDR.

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