Sikhs participate in Memorial Day parades and ceremonies


Raj Mago

CHICAGO: Memorial Day in America honors all men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of country protecting our freedom. The day started with a wreath laying ceremony at Daley Plaza remembering over 1.2 million heroes, followed by a parade on State Street. Large crowds of people lined the parade route to pay their respect. The parade was broadcast live on local TV on channels like ABC TV-7.

The American Sikh community has been actively participating in parades since 2012. This year they participated in three separate events in Chicago Downtown, Villages of Schaumburg and Naperville

Chicago hosts one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the Nation since 1870. There were several marching bands, ROTC cadets, uniformed soldiers, Veteran Groups, military jeeps and Humvee vehicles that roared along the route of the parade. Amongst all of the marching bands there was one of the well decorated float by the American Sikh community that highlighted the fallen Sikh soldiers during World Wars I & II.

Sikhs at Parade
Sikhs at Parade

A special bus was arranged on Saturday May 28 from Palatine Gurdwara which carried the volunteers to Chicago downtown for the Memorial Day Parade. Several other members drove from all over the suburbs to participate in the parade.

Sikh Ardaas (Sikh Prayers) was performed by the group. Parade started at Lake and State Streets, marching Southward on State Street ending at Van Buren. Thunderous applause by the spectators welcomed  the Sikh community as they marched in parade with red turbans and matching shirts. Leading the parade was a U.S flag carried by Rajinder Singh Mago and a visiting uniformed military officer Harpreet Singh Dipak,. A Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) carried by Jasmeet Singh along with a flag of Ukraine carried by Gurmeet Singh, symbolized solidarity and support for the U.S. allied nation that is currently going through a very tough time due to the war. Sikh Community members were cheered with continuous claps and honored for participating in the Chicago Memorial day parade. After the parade the participants were treated with langar and ice cream at the iconic Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.

When the American Sikh Community approached the review stand, the master of ceremonies announced: Sikhs have been living in the USA for more than 120 years and during the Secondly, the American Sikh Community has been participating in Memorial Day in the village of Schaumburg since 2011 at the Saint Peter’s Church located . Due to Covid19 no functions were held in 2020 and 2021. But this year in 2022 Memorial Day ceremonies were resumed and the Sikh community participated as usual.

Thirdly, this year the American Sikh Community participated for the first time in the Memorial Day parade in Downtown Naperville Illinois on Monday May 302022. During this parade, the American Sikh community again joined the residents in honoring the fallen soldiers who gave their life for the freedom of their nation. The day started by setting up a float which was very extravagant and had lots of decorations.

Along the sides of the float, there were pictures which represented the contributions of Sikhs in World War I and World War II. Sikhs then marched for one mile in front of the float holding the US flags by Rajinder Singh Mago and Roger Singh Chawla, followed by Nishan Sahib and the Ukraine flag. Among the forty five different entries, which included school bands, antique cars, and military jets, there were thousands of people watching the parade. The spectators also wore the colors red, white, and blue which gave an impression of a big American flag across the whole parade. The crowd clapped and waved at the Sikh community for commemorating the fallen soldiers. The  Langar  was shared among the volunteers and anyone else who wanted it. 

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