LAKEVIEW — The annual WOOGMS Memorial Day Parade is dropping its 57-year-old tradition where “everybody marches, nobody watches” on Monday with a virtual parade people can watch at home.
The Wellington-Oakdale Old Glory Marching Society’s online celebration will honor U.S. veterans and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic with a children-led Pledge of Allegiance flag-raising and pre-recorded performance by the Jesse White Tumblers from a previous parade.
The 2020 WOOGMS Parade will also feature appearances by Sec. of State Jesse White, Congressman Mike Quigley and Ald. Tom Tunney.
“For the past 57 years, the WOOGMS Memorial Day Parade has helped young and old honor those who have fought to keep our country safe,” the group behind the parade said in a press release. “This one-of-a-kind neighborhood parade brings Lakeview residents, as well as many who live outside the neighborhood, to the streets to help salute our veterans and celebrate the spirit of community.”
The late Al Weisman, a World War II veteran, founded the WOOGMS Parade in 1963 when he marched around his block with his son, a few friends and a 5-foot U.S. flag pole.
The tradition grew over time, eventually attracting hundreds of children and families from across the Chicago area to march down Sheridan Road every Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Weisman died in 1973, leaving the parade to his son, Tony Weisman, who then handed it down to a group of neighbors after moving to the East Coast.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Boystown and Lincoln Park for Block Club Chicago.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.