Memorial Day 2020-05-25 041
Local News

Smaller Memorial Day observances manage to keep spirit of holiday alive


Memorial Day observances Monday in Homewood were smaller than usual because of state limitations on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one tradition continued and a new observance was added.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Band Director Sarah Whitlock led a small group of trumpeters who performed taps at 3 p.m. as part of Taps Across America, a project headed by CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman and retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva in conjunction with the Taps for Veterans organization. 

From left, trumpeters Brennan Eaheart, Sarah Whitlock, Ethan Bosch, Andy Hoefle and David Winicky play the national anthem during a brief Memorial Day event Monday at the Homewood Veterans Memorial. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle) 

Their idea was to help fill the gap left by pandemic restrictions and honor those who gave their lives in service to the country. Musicians across the country were invited to play taps at the same time and share photos and videos of the performance online.

A small audience gathered at the Homewood Veterans Memorial at the corner of Harwood Avenue and Olive Road to witness the performance. 

John Beele, commander of the Wally Burns VFW Post 8077, introduced the trumpeters. 

Wally Burns VFW Post 8077 Commander John Beele makes a few remarks before trumpeters perform taps at the Homewood Veterans Memorial on Monday. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

In addition to Whitlock, the musicians included Brennan Eaheart, David Winicky, Ethan Bosch and Andy Hoefle. 

“Being an old Marine, you always learn to improvise, overcome and continue to march, and that’s what our community is doing,” Beele said. “Our loss this year was not having the parade … so this is a bonus to all of us.”

After performing taps, the trumpeters played the Star-Spangled Banner, and Beele led one verse of the Marine Corps Hymn. 

Lorin Burte of Homewood, who had stopped by the memorial to pay his respects, stayed for the performance. 

Although he did not serve in the military, he said his uncles were World War II veterans. 

“It’s to them we owe all of this,” he said, with a gesture to the community all around. 

Lorin Burte of Homewood observes a moment of silence at the Veterans Memorial. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Earlier in the day, Beele led the annual wreath-laying ceremony, which also attracted a small crowd. 

Nicholas Sons, grandson of long-time VFW member Bill Frank, placed the wreath honoring World War I veterans.

Dominic Garofalo placed the World War II wreath in honor of his father, Marty Garofalo. 

Frank Walker placed the Korean War wreath in honor of his father, who was a prisoner of war during that conflict. 

Local Girl Scouts left a basket of toy soldiers for people to take along with a poem honoring those who gave their lives for the country. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Jay Stevens, Chuck Funke, Ryan Nolan and Kevin Moss placed the wreath honoring veterans from the Vietnam War and Gulf War. 

Beele also thanked local Girl Scouts, who placed small American flags in the lawns at homes of VFW members earlier in the day.


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