Sen. Kirk attends Memorial Day parade in Arlington Heights
May 27, 2013 (ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.) (WLS) -- Parades stepped off across the Chicago area Monday despite gloomy weather. Senator Mark Kirk attended one of the state's biggest celebrations in Arlington Heights.
That parade was followed by ceremonies at Arlington Heights Memorial Park with special tributes to those who served and are still serving.
Onlookers for the parade were out early to secure their spot for the festivities.
"It's just really nice to be at the Memorial Day," said Kyle Chung. "You just see a lot of parades and it's sometimes nice to hear the music."
"We have to honor those who lost their lives fighting for freedom in this country," said Lino Aragon. "This is my new homeland, my new country, and I love America."
An estimated 10,000 people attended the Arlington Heights Memorial Day parade. About 4,000 to 5,000 veterans and active duty members marched.
A local family was also honored for 170 years of combined service in the armed forces.
Another service member in the parade was Senator Mark Kirk. This is his first parade since returning to work this year after suffering a stroke. He was on hand to support the rights of veterans, pushing for legislation to make it easier for them to get benefits.
"In Chicago now, it's 475 days. It's terrible," he said. "That's why it has to be all automated on the computer and just get this rolling. A Chicago veteran should not have to wait a year to get their disability decided."
local, jason knowles
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