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History of Memorial Day

Fri May 28, 2021

DeKalb, IL- Why do we celebrate memorial day in the US? There are many traditions, both local and national, that are part of modern Memorial Day commemorations in addition to the National Moment of Remembrance. From moments of silence to jubilant events, from the laying of wreaths at monuments to grand speeches from our military and civic leaders. But, this Day is about the Veterans that are no longer with us.

It may come as a surprise that Memorial Day, in its current form, has only existed in the United States since 1968. On June 28th of that year, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, Memorial Day among them, from specific days of the month to set Mondays. That way, people and businesses could more easily observe and enjoy them. But the tradition of spending a day honoring those who gave their lives in the service of our country started over a century before.

Please support the day by attending the DeKalb Memorial Day event at the Ellwood Mansion in DeKalb. The Ellwood Mansion is located off First Street and the service starts at 10:00 am.

NOTE: A full Military salute to Memorial Day will be held at the Memorial Clock (1st & Lincoln Hwy-Downtown DeKalb) at 9:00 am. Presented by the DeKalb American Legion Ceremonial Honor Guard.


  • Ellwood House Lawn - May 31, 2021 - 10 AM
  • Presentation of Colors by Legion Honor Guard
  • “The Star-Spangled Banner”• Terri Crane Goodman
  • Master of Ceremonies• American Legion Commander,Daniel Gallagher
  • Welcome to Military Guests
  • Welcome• DeKalb Chief of Police David Byrd • DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes• DeKalb Park Board Commissioner Phil Young
  • Introduction of Post Commanders
  • Invocation American Legion Chaplain Rob McCann
  • Keynote Speaker• American Legion Historian Michael Embrey
  • Musical Numbers (with Service Songs)• Ron Lofton & Terri Crane Goodman
  • American Legion School Awards “Amazing Grace”• Firefighters Highland Guard of DeKalb
  • Rifle Salute American Legion Honor Guard
  • Taps by Mark Baldin & Michael Embrey
  • Retrieval of Colors

Thank you to those who made this program possible, especially the participants, the City of DeKalb, FunME Events, DeKalb Park District, and Ellwood House Museum