Illinois National Guard Soldiers Play in Chicago Memorial Day Parade

By SPC Lisa Laughlin
39th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

News story photo
Photo credit: SPC Lisa Laughlin
Staff Sgt. Ryan Koehler of Benson, with the 144th Illinois Army National Guard Band out of Springfield, plays the tuba while marching down state Street May 28, in the Chicago Memorial Day Parade.
CHICAGO, IL -- The 144th Illinois Army National Guard Band out of Springfield, performed a selection of songs including "The Army Song", "The National Emblem March", and "Host of Freedom" May 28, in the Chicago Memorial Day Parade.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher N. Jones of Chatham, the band master of the 144th ILNG band, said this was the third time the band has marched in the Memorial Day parade in Chicago, and that the band typically performs between 7 and 15 shows per year.

Jones said he thought the performance went very well and that he hopes to perform in the parade in future years.

Staff Sgt. Robert E. Reed of Carbondale, a senior instrumentalist with the 144th Band, said he enjoyed having the opportunity to show his support for his fellow National Guard Soldiers and for the Soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the freedom of the country.

"It is a great opportunity for me to actually be a part of something big, like the Chicago Memorial Day Parade, and it's a great way to show my gratitude for the fallen veterans in all the foreign wars," said Reed.

Sgt. George "Chip" Brewster of Lake Zurich, the drum major of the 144th Band, has been with the band for over four years and conducted the band during the parade.

Brewster said he has performed in a Memorial Day parade every year since he joined the ILNG and feels that it is the perfect way to show appreciation for the sacrifices that have been made by our Soldiers.

"It is the perfect time of years for the Army band to get out there and do a parade," said Brewster. "It's all about the veterans that came before us, so what better way to honor them than to have the Army band perform in a Memorial day Parade."

On May 30, from 9a.m. to 10 a.m. the Illinois Army National Guard Band will be performing live on ABC Chicago, for "The Windy City Live" program

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