A Boy Scout places a wreath at the Eternal Flame Monument as other members of Boy Scouts Troop 668 and Cub Scouts Pack 3668 look on last Sunday during the Memorial Day Observance in Worth. (Photos by Joe Boyle)
Worth Memorial Day event recalls past conflicts, wars
By Joe Boyle
Worth Mayor Mary Werner welcomed sunny skies on Sunday morning.
However, Werner said she could not take credit for the 70-degree temperatures before the Memorial Day Observance at Veterans Memorial Park at the corner of 111th Street and Harlem Avenue.
“We have had plenty of times where we had coats on,” Werner said. “But I can’t take credit for this. But it is a beautiful day.”
The annual event, which is always held the week before Memorial Day, features several organization members placing wreaths at the Eternal Flame Memorial at the Veterans Memorial Park.
Although it was a pleasant day, Werner reminded everyone in attendance that conflicts and wars have been with us for decades. She mentioned that Jan. 27, 1973 — 50 years ago — marked the official end of American involvement in Vietnam. But the fighting resumed almost immediately after that, the mayor said.
“I was born in 1955 and I am now 68 years old,” Werner said. “I don’t remember a time in my life that we were not involved in some kind of conflict.”
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th) attended the observance and noted some key points in the nation’s history dating back to the nation’s earliest conflicts.
“Take a moment to thank a Gold Star family,” Casten said. “We should remember this day, next weekend and Memorial Day.”
Casten also laid a wreath at the monument with the assistance of Mike McElroy, president of the Worth Park District Board.
Steve Werner, finance officer for Marrs-Meyer American Legion Post 991, thanked Casten and other guest speakers. He reminded everyone to take time to remember U.S. men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the country.
But he also wanted to inform everyone that steps have been taken to rebuild and update the Eternal Flame Memorial and Veterans Memorial Park with the assistance of the Worth Park District and the Marrs-Meyer Post.
“We have started the process of rebuilding the memorial,” Steve Werner said. “Our next goal is our walking path. We can now concentrate on the infrastructure. She’s a beautiful memorial. You will come to this corner, whether you live in Worth or not, and see something special. This memorial is the centerpoint of our town.”
McElroy also spoke and is excited about the prospect of a refurbished Memorial Park.
“We have multiple parks here and they are all great,” McElroy said. “But this is my favorite and we owe all of that to (residents). With additional funding we can spend more to improve the parks. We have a duty to do our best here to make (veterans) them proud.”
McElroy said this will be accomplished with everyone working together. McElroy and Steve Werner pointed to a new Veterans Memorial Park sign through the efforts of the park district. The sign will be erected at a later date at a yet undecided location in Memorial Park. The monument and park were originally built in 1993.
During the ceremony, Boy Scouts Troop 668 and Cub Scouts Pack 3668 recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Michaela Weaver, who is the niece of the mayor, sang the national anthem.
Other organizations that placed wreaths at the memorial included the Marrs-Meyer Post and Auxiliary, Paws Assisting Wounded Warriors, Swallow Cliff Chapter Daughters of the Revolution from Palos Heights, Burbank Marines Auxiliary 072, Girl Scouts Troop of Ridgeland/Whitetail Woods, Worth Lions Club, Worth Board of Trustees, and the Worth Park District.
The only moment of concern came when Martha Patti briefly fainted due to the heat. She was scheduled to sing “God Bless America.” But after being treated by post members and paramedics, Patti said she felt well enough to sing as she sat on a chair and was closely watched by post members and paramedics.
She completed her task to the delight of the crowd and was treated by paramedics.
“We want to thank Martha Patti, you are a trooper,” said Steve Werner.
Werner also made it known that they could use financial assistance for upkeep of the monument and park.
“If you know somebody or know of anyone who could help, let us know,” Steve Werner said. “We owe this for the veterans.”
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