Strike up the bands! Naperville’s Memorial Day activities

Let the season begin.

Even though the solstice is still a month away, Memorial Day brings the first official holiday of summer. It invites us to throw open our windows and doors, fire up the grill, and reacquaint ourselves with neighbors, friends and family after so many cold months spent cooped up indoors.

Most importantly, however, the weekend’s observance brings a solemn reminder of the true meaning of heroism, and the often-steep cost of earning the title.

Every Memorial Day, Naperville honors and thanks the nation’s veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country with its annual parade, hosted by the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and American Legion Post 43. The procession steps off at 10:30 a.m. Monday from the foot of West Street on Jackson Avenue and moves east to Washington Street, north to Benton Avenue and then turns east again to wrap around Central Park. More than 100 entries and 25 bands are signed up to line up.

The event is surrounded by music.

For the eighth consecutive year, city carillonneur Tim Sleep will provide a soundtrack for the pre-parade crowd with a medley of patriotic songs from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Sleep’s play list honors each branch of the armed services with specific selections, along with such crowd-pleasing classics as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful.”

The ringing from the bell tower signals the launch of the Millennium Carillon’s free summer concert series. Guest artists from around the world will be featured in the Tuesday evening performances. The carillon also is played by local carillonneurs at 7 p.m. Saturdays from June through August, at 4 p.m. Sundays from May through September, and at 3 p.m. Sundays from October through December.

After the parade, a service and free performance by the Naperville Municipal Band in the park’s Community Concert Center will continue the commemoration.

More information about the parade is at www.napervillememorialdayparade.com. For more details about the carillon concerts, visit www.naperville-carillon.org/Recitals.

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