Memorial Day is the most important day of the year for the veterans of Hinsdale American Legion Post 250, who along with the Hinsdale VFW have once again organized the 2012 Memorial Day events in Hinsdale.
Monday's ceremony comes a year after one of the more emotional commemorations in recent history.
In 2011, the village paid tribute to Army Pfc. Gunnar R. Hotchkin, a casualty of the war in Afghanistan who grew up in Hinsdale. Hotchkin, a 31-year-old husband and father of three, was killed on June 16, 2010, after the truck he was in hit an improvised explosive device (IED).
A wall outside Memorial Hall lists the names of Hinsdale residents who died in the line of duty.
"Last year we put the first name on their in a long time," Post 250 Adjutant Joseph Craig said.
Craig said during last year's service that a name had not been added to the wall since 1969.
Monday's events will begin with a 7 a.m. sunrise service at Bronswood Cemetery on Madison Street, before the traditional Memorial Procession through downtown Hinsdale begins at 10 a.m. The procession, which starts at the intersection of 1st Street and Garfield Avenue and eventually ends at Memorial Hall (itself a memorial to fallen soldiers), will feature veterans of foreign wars from World War II to the first Gulf War.
In addition to veterans themselves, Craig said, the Hinsdale Central marching band and numerous local youth groups will walk in the procession. After the procession ends, a memorial service will be held on Memorial Hall's front lawn that will feature guest speakers, a rifle salute, and the playing of Taps.
"Many, many veterans feel guilty that their best buddy died and they came back," Craig said when asked why Memorial Day is so important. "It's kind of this whole wealth of emotions that are especially meaningful."
At last year's event, Amy Forde told Patch her family comes to the ceremony from Aurora every year. Her father-in-law, Erwin Forde, is past commander for the Post 250.
“It’s a very nice way to honor the memory of those of Hinsdale that have fallen,” Forde said. “I don’t know what other suburbs have a program like this, but this has to be one of the best ones. It makes you proud to be an American.”