I’ve driven by it hundreds, if not thousands of times.
A tiny little cemetery along Arlington Heights Road in Buffalo Grove. No big signs, just a chain link fence, some trees and an American flag.
It wasn’t until I listened to Buffalo Grove Village Clerk Jan Sirabian make an announcement about a Memorial Day event at Knopf Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Monday. It’s one of two events held at the cemetery, the other on Veterans Day.
So after driving past the cemetery yet again, I decided it was time to stop.
It was a history lesson. . Founded in 1853, before the Civil War, the cemetery has graves going back not just years or decades – but for more than a century. It’s owned and operated by the Kingswood United Methodist Church and there’s nothing heralding the church’s ownership -- Just a small cracked and faded sign.
But yet on Monday, the cemetery will become a focal point for the community. Or at least let’s hope it does. That’s when it hosts the annual Memorial Day ceremony honoring and remembering the military heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for America.
But how many residents will show up? Sirabian hopes a lot. She says it will be a simple, respectful ceremony. No parades, no candy throwing – just a time to remember heroes.
There’s always a chance that some folks will criticize Sirabian for promoting the event because it’s sponsored a church and heaven forbid a village official for promoting a church-sponsored activity – even if it’s secular in nature. She was ripped by a certain atheist last year when she dared to mention a pig roast, also sponsored by the church. A pig roast. Period. While that may not appeal to some people for various reasons, the intent is to reach out to the community. Monday isn’t about fund-raising, nor promoting a church – it’s about pride.
A suggestion – don’t criticize Sirabian for promoting Monday’s event. Sirabian’s community and American pride is about as deep and long as her tenure as Big Animal Grove’s Village Clerk.
And on Monday, that’s all the pride that matters. No politics, no handouts, no glory.
Just plenty of remembrance.
We have gotten into the habit of promoting holidays for all the wrong reason. Retail sales, barbecues, and picnics. No problem with that – until you forget the meaning of a holiday. I still cringe on Martin Luther Kings Jr’s birthday when kids get the day off from school so they can watch basketball games.
And then there’s Veterans’ Day, which some schools don’t even consider a holiday anymore. But Memorial Day has become a big holiday – for the wrong reason – now it’s the unofficial start of summer – a three-day weekend – a chance to look toward the end of school and start vacation.
It’s a chance to say thank you.
But we’ve gotten away from that. We’re too busy. Too busy to remember that we have freedoms that many countries don’t because of the men and women who served America.
But on Monday, for about an hour in a tiny, discreet cemetery along Arlington Heights Road, 75, maybe 100, people won’t be too busy.
Fortunately they remember what the holiday is all about.
A Memorial Day remembrance ceremony will be held at Knopf Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 28. Knopf Cemetery is on Arlington Heights Road at Checker Drive, about a half-mile north of Lake Cook Road.