Every year, thousands of people come to downtown Chicago to honor veterans and active duty military. Memorial Day Parade begins at noon on a Saturday before the Memorial Day and marches south along State Street, from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Before the parade, there is also a wreath-laying ceremony to honor those who have lost their lives in military missions. It begins at 11 am on Daley Plaza (Dearborn and Washington Streets). Every year, the gold star families, the parents, spouses, siblings and children who've lost a loved one, are gifted yellow roses. The ceremony is very moving and solemn. Wreath laying is followed by a 21-gun salute to honor the fallen heroes.
Chicago Memorial Day Parade is the largest celebration of that kind. Many military marching bands, veteran groups, floats, and about 6,000 junior ROTC cadets take part in the parades as thousands of spectators watch it from the sidewalks. Memorial Day holiday originates in the years following the Civil War. Since 1971 it is a federal holiday. The day ends with amazing fireworks at Navy Pier on the banks of Lake Michigan.