I went to River Forest to march in the Memorial Day Parade. First time. First time in the parade, not the first time in River Forest.

I went to march with Don Harmon and the Democrats. Marching for Obama. Great day. Weather was fine and even the few Republicans who refused Obama stickers, did so very politely. Mostly, the crowd cheered for Obama. (I think he’ll win River Forest in November).

After what seemed like a very long walk, I got to the park and wanted nothing but to sit on the grass and eat a bratwurst. The concession stand was closed! I was told they would not open until after the parade finished and the politicians did their speeches.

We were number 11 out of about 50 units. It would be a while until the parade finished. I looked at the program. I figured it would be at least an hour from the “Opening remarks by Thomas Cusack” to the “Conclusion of Ceremony.”

I am an old guy, and I have been to countless fairs, festivals and carnivals. I have eaten food sold by profit-making companies and food sold by volunteer organizations to raise funds. Along the way, I have eaten various forms of meat, seafood, bread, vegetables and items I never did identify. But I have never been to an event where they said, we won’t sell you food until after the speeches. It does not seem like a good way to make money. I left and went to Portillo’s where I sat in a booth and had a hot dog.

So if Don Harmon talks me into marching with him next year, I’ll bring my own food.

Allen Matthews

Oak Park


Each year when my wife and I attend the Memorial Day service in front of the Peace Triumphant monument in
Scoville Park, one of the speakers references the soldier, sailor, and airman personifying the forces of Land, Air and Sea, and the fourth figure, personifying Columbia. This year, once again, and rightfully so, a brief history of this monument to the honored memory of citizens of Oak Park and River Forest who served our country in World War was referenced. And once again, during this narrative, the speaker indicated that this monument does not include a figure of a member of the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Illinois National Guard.

Respectfully, I recommend that it is time for figures representing these branches of our armed forces to be added to Scoville Park. Oak Park is a richly cultural and artistic community, and it could draw on the resident expertise of its citizenry to envision how and where to add these figures and fully honor all the branches of our military that provide and ensure the blessings of freedom we all hold dear.

I ask our village boards of Oak Park and River Forest to enter into a discussion on this endeavor. Furthermore, I would consider it a privilege to serve on the committee that would work to make this concept a reality.


James Gates

Oak Park

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