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Speakers honor veterans' efforts

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Pioneer Press
by Bob Seidenberg

Longtime Evanston community member Allen "Bo" Price didn't quite make it to the Memorial Day ceremony this year, passing away May 1 after a sustained fight with lung and heart disease.

But his presence was alive at the ceremony in which he invested so much time organizing, as speakers paid tribute to him and other deceased veterans Monday.

"I fully expect Bo Price to pull up in a car in a second here and start giving us orders," said Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, making opening remarks at the ceremony.

"Bo organized this service for many years," noted Tech Sgt. John Frazier, representing the William B. Snell VFW Post 7186 where Price served as a past commander. "He made sure the ROTC was here, the bugler, the speakers -- sometimes the coffee and rolls.

"He gave all kinds of commands, such as 'What are you waiting for, your cap is on backward," said Frazier, eliciting laughs from veterans and crowd members familiar with Price's tough love command style. "We all miss Bo."

Along with Price, speakers also paid homage to the special sanctity of the day.

"This is a day we honor not only those who served but we remember all those who came before us, all those who laid their lives on the line and all those who died in service of the country," said newly elected Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl presiding as a key speaker for the first time at the ceremony. "Every man and woman who have defended this country, have sacrificed themselves for 233 years, and every single one of them deserve a moment of our time for us to reflect why we are here today ... to show how much we cherish their sacrifices."

The ceremony drew a full crowd to Fountain Square, which contains memorial boards with the names of past veterans.

The Northwestern University Naval ROTC made up the color guard. Greg Lisinski, senior vice commander, 7th District Department of Illinois American Legion, served as master of ceremonies.

Veterans from past wars and conflicts dating back to World War II wore their uniforms, exchanged salutes, and laid wreaths at the base of the fountain.

Cmdr. Hal Shanafield, representing VietNow, North Suburban Chapter, said that as long as rights are threatened, such ceremonies are necessary.

"As long as they're (veterans) willing to make that sort of sacrifice in their lives and time, I think it most fitting we make sacrifice on a cloudy day, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in the snow, to honor them.

"As Bo used to say to me, 'Young man, remember when I'm gone you've got to keep doing this,' and we're going to keep on doing it," he said.

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