Sikhs participate in Memorial Day parades

Sikhs with Schaumburg Mayor and officials
Sikhs with Schaumburg Mayor and officials

CHICAGO: Sikh American community members of Chicago participated in the Memorial Day Parade on May 24 with a float, flags, posters, banners and a walking unit to honor and commemorate Sikh’s contributions in World Wars.

The banners featured photos and quotations which highlight the contributions of Sikh soldiers to the success of the Allied Troops during World War I and II. This was the third year that the community has participated in this annual parade.

Sikh Soldiers who gallantly fought and sacrificed their lives for the success of the Allies in World Wars I & II were part of British-India Army. They bravely fought for the allies in France, Belgium, Italy, Israel and many other battle fronts. In the two world wars, 83,005 Sikh soldiers died and 109,045 were wounded while fighting for the Allied forces.

The two hour long parade organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events stepped off at noon. There were more than 150 contingents in the parade.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Duckworth the Iraq war veteran, former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Congresswoman of Illinois’ 8th Congressional District were the parade’s grand marshals.

The Chicago Sikhs also participated in another Memorial Day Parade in Itasca, Illinois. The parade started from Bryn Mawr and
Catalpa streets and ended at the Itasca train station. Sikh martial art “Gatka” was demonstrated and Sikhs served bottled water to hundreds of spectators.

The Chicago Sikh community also participated in Memorial Day Observance Ceremonies at Hoffman Estates Veterans Memorial Cemetery Site and at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Illinois.

A special memorial address was given by 1st. Lt. David M. Murphy, Pillars of The ceremonies ended with a picnic in the garden decorated with posters of Sikh Soldiers from world wars I & II.

Memorial Day has a rich history. It began shortly after the Civil War ended when General John Logan proclaimed that the 30th day of May be designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of soldiers who died. It was first observed on May 30.

Rajinder Singh Mago

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