WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s an annual event in Washington that combines both family fun and a solemn obligation to remember the nation’s fallen. 

Washington held its annual parade which wound through the city’s central business district before concluding in Glendale Cemetery. Cars, trucks, vans and people all participated in the parade as people lined the street to watch.

“The weather’s nice, to get everybody down here, and see a little hometown parade, and just remember those that have served and see some of the old Army vehicles, and firetrucks that go by, and kids love it,” said Garry Barton, who lives in Washington.

At Glendale, the parade ended at the veterans memorial. Speakers included Bobby Martin, III, who serves on the City Council and who is an Iraqi War veteran. 

“Whether they died in war or from war, generation after generation some of the best people this world has to offer have given their life for the rest of us,” said Martin, a former Marine.

Dan Semlow, a commander with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said it was important to distinguish between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

“Memorial Day is about those who have given their life in defense of the country, and Veterans Day is about those who have served, both are important days, but today is a day where we get to thank those who aren’t here to be thanked in person,” he said.

While Memorial Day is a holiday, speakers at the ceremony urged people to remember the somber aspect of the day, when those who gave their lives are remembered. 

“They look like any one of us, their one common characteristic is they all wrote a blank check to Uncle Sam, payable up to and including their lives if need be,” said James Talaska of the American Legion.