Naperville cancels Memorial Day parade due to excessive heat

By Cathy Janek for Chronicle Media

Radioman 2nd Class Walter H. Backman will be laid to rest in a Batavia Cemetery on Memorial Day. He died in the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while aboard the USS Oklahoma. He was identified in 2015 as part of a Defense Department effort to identify USS Oklahoma remains.

The excessive heat expected today has prompted the city of Naperville to cancel is annual Memorial Day parade.

The parade was scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m.

On its Twitter page, the city posted this statement:  “Due to excessive heat, the Memorial Day parade in downtown Naperville has been canceled. The 11 a.m. ceremony in Central Park will still take place.”

The Chicago area is expected to set a record today while reaching a heat index exceeding 100 degrees.

Checking the social media accounts of communities in the western suburbs it appears others are expected to go on with their parades and events as originally planned.

In Batavia a sailor killed in the 1941 Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor will be laid to rest in the Batavia Cemetery today, May 28.

The internment of Radioman Second Class Walter H. Backman is among highlights of Memorial Day observances planned throughout the western suburbs next week.

Backman, 22, was was aboard the USS Oklahoma which capsized after multiple torpedo hits on Dec. 7, 1941. He was among 429 crew members killed.

Only 35 of the deceased were identified immediately following the attack while the rest of the unidentified dead were buried as unknowns in plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In recent years, the Defense Department sought to identify USS Oklahoma sailors. Remains were exhumed in 2015 and DNA identification techniques — unknown in 1941—  led to the identification of 122 men to date, including Backman.

Born in Wilton, ND,  Backman moved with his family to Aurora prior to enlisting in the Navy.

A short prayer service will take place at Healy Chapel 332 W. Downer Place, Aurora, at 1 p.m. on Memorial Day followed by procession to River Hills Memorial Park in Batavia.

The U.S. Navy will conduct the service with Rear Admiral Carol Lynch presiding. It will  include a seven member honor detail, according to Jacob A. Zimmerman, Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Kane County.

Other commemorations are scheduled for Memorial Day (Monday, May 28) unless noted:



Mayors’ Memorial Day Breakfast, 6:45 a.m., Elks Lodge No. 765, 2019 S. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb.  In its 28th year, the breakfast is coordinated by the Northern Illinois Veterans Activities Committee; Memorial Day Parade in downtown DeKalb, 9 a.m.; Memorial Day event at the Ellwood House Museum, 509 N 1st St., DeKalb. Following the parade, the Ellwood Museum will be open free of charge, 10 a.m.-noon.


Sunday, May 27, Salute to Our Troops and WWII Radio Hour, 1 p.m.  Held at the Northern Illinois Veterans Memorial in Franklin Township Park, the Salute to Our Troops will be followed by the reenactment of a 1940s radio hour featuring period songs.


Memorial Day Celebration will be held in the center of town and will include a parade, water fights  and Fay’s BBQ pork chops.



Free Pancake Breakfast. Indian Trail Junior High School,  222 N. JF Kennedy Drive, 8 a.m.;  Veterans Resource Fair, Indian Trail Junior High School,  8:30 a.m.; Addison Historical Museums open, 9 a.m.;

Community March steps off at Indian Trail Junior High to St. Paul Cemetery, 9:30 a.m.;

Flag Posting begins at St. Paul Cemetery, 9:45 a.m.; Cemetery Observance begins followed by march back to Village Hall, 10 a.m.; VFW Ceremony, Village Hall, 1 Friendship Plaza, 11 a.m.;  Hot Dogs and chips, courtesy of Addison VFW, Post Hall, noon-1 p.m.


Memorial Day Observance, Memorial Day Park, 11 a.m.  Members of Carol Stream VFW Post 10396 invite the community to attend the annual observance to honor our nation’s heroes.


Memorial Day Parade, 9:30 a.m. The 100th Annual Elmhurst  parade will head south on York and Third St. ending at Wilder Park. Following the parade will be a post-parade Military Ceremony at Wilder Park.


Monday, May 28, 11 p.m. to 3 p.m.  Memorial Day Parade, ceremonies, and picnic, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., downtown Lisle.


Memorial Day ceremony at the Sunken Garden at Common Park, noon. Members of the Lombard Veterans of Foreign Wars Lilac Post 5815, the Lombard American Legion Memorial Post 391, Lombard Historical Society, local scouts, students of Glenbard East High School, and local residents will participate and pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  Featured speaker  Dennis McNicholas will read a poetic selection pertaining to the end of WWI. A wreath laying ceremony at the Lombard Memorial Marker, which contains the names of Lombard residents who served or were killed in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam War.


Memorial Day Parade, 10:30 a.m. The parade route will head west from Mill Street along Jackson Avenue, north up Washington Street to Benton Avenue and into Central Park in downtown Naperville. Memorial Day Observance, Central Park, 104 E. Benton Ave., 12:15 p.m.  Following the parade, a 30-minute observance will commemorate the holiday with remembrances of sacrifice by honored veterans and patriotic music performed by the Naperville Municipal Band.


Monday, May 28, 11 a.m.  Memorial Day Ceremony.  The Villa Park Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2801 and the Village of Villa Park honors those who have served in the military during times of conflict or war at Cortesi Veterans Memorial Park. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be re-located to the VFW Post 2801 Hall, 39 E. St. Charles Road.



Saturday, May 26, 11 a.m.  Memorial Day Program at Jewell Grove Cemetery, 1400 Champion Forest Circle, sponsored by the Wheaton by Friends of Pioneer Cemeteries.

Wheaton Memorial Day Parade, 10 a.m., will head down Main Street, concluding with a ceremony at the Wheaton Cemetery on Elm Street.


Memorial Day Parade, 11 a.m. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Addison Road and Elizabeth Drive and end at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 269 W. Irving Park Road. At the conclusion, a short memorial service will be held on the grounds of the Veteran’s Memorial.




Aurora’s Memorial Day Parade, noon, features the team:  “In Memory of Many…In Honor of All.”  Parade will begin at the intersection of Benton and River, head east on Benton, north on Broadway, west on Downer Place and ending at River Street. The Memorial Day Reviewing Stand will be in front of the David L. Pierce Art and History Center at 20 East Downer Place. Bronze Star recipient and native Auroran, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Christopher Hess will serve as parade Grand Marshal. Hess currently serves as Career Counselor of the Illinois National Guard Armory at East Aurora High School.

The parade is the culmination of a Vets Week in Aurora that begins on Armed Forces Day through Memorial Day and includes a 5K fun run, resource fair for vets, and a picnic and patriotic concert.

Other events include: Wednesday, You’re a Grand Old Flag Art Contest Reception, Santori Public Library, 101 S River St., Aurora, May 23, 6 to 8 p.m.; Drive Through Vets Week Aurora’s BBQ Dinner Fundraiser. Held at the IBEW 461, 591 Sullivan Road # 200, Aurora, Thursday, May 24, 4:30 to 7 p.m.;

Iraq/Afghanistan GWOT Vet Recognition at the Prisco Community Center, Friday, May 25, 6 p.m.;

Saturday, May 26, 4 to 8 p.m. Cruise Night.  Held at West Aurora Plaza; Name Additions to Philips Park Vet Monument at Phillips Park Sunken Gardens, Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.



The Batavia VFW will hold a service at the Riverside banquet facility, 10 a.m.  A traditional herring breakfast will be prepared by members of the Batavia Viking Ring Lodge will be served beginning at 7 a.m.


Pancake Breakfast, American Legion Post 630, 112 Main Street, 7-9:30 a.m.; Memorial Day Parade, Lions Park, 10 a.m. Hosted by American Legion Post 630, the annual parade begins at Lions Park and end at Blackberry Township Cemetery.  The ceremony includes the reading of “Flanders Field” and the reading of the names of local veterans buried in the area.


A Catholic Mass with combined color guard, rifle salute and the playing of Taps at Mount Hope Cemetery, 1001 Villa Street, Elgin, 8:45 a.m. Other salutes are scheduled at Lakewood Memorial Park, 30W730 US 20, Elgin, 9:15 a.m.;  Elgin Veterans Memorial Park, 274 N. Grove Ave., Elgin, 9:45 a.m.; Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd., 11 a.m. At Bluff City Cemetery, more than 600 flags honoring local veterans line the streets as part of the award winning “Avenue of Flags.” There are also more than 2800 smaller flags flying over veterans graves placed by local volunteers as part of the “Adopt a Cemetery” program.


Parade led by the American Legion Fox River-Geneva Post 75, 10 a.m. Starting from Geneva Train Station, the parade will feature the color guard, local veterans, city officials, Boy and Girl Scouts, Geneva High School Marching Band, military re-enactor units and Geneva Police and Fire vehicles.  The procession will travel north on Third Street to the West Side Cemetery, Third and Stevens Streets, where a ceremony will be held.


Parade steps off at 6th and Main Street, 10 a.m.  A VFW/American Legion Open House takes place immediately following the parade at 311 North 2nd St., Unit 109, St. Charles for all veterans and their families.




Memorial Day Activities.  Veteran’s Memorial Plano at Route 34 and Center Street, 10:30 a.m.  A recognition of veteran’s bricks added this year.  Color guard, scouts and school band will march to the Little Rock Township Cemetery on North Center Street for a program that begins at 11:30 a.m.


Memorial Day Dedication, 11:30 a.m., Yorkville Town Square Park.




—- Memorial Day programs to include honoring sailor killed in Pearl Harbor —