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Honoring Macomb’s Military Heritage

Rich Egger

Two tours of Oakwood Cemetery in Macomb will be held on Memorial Day with a focus on local military figures.

“Our town has a very strong tradition of remembering soldiers, of taking dead seriously the idea of honoring and remembering soldiers,” said author and historian John Hallwas, who will lead the tours.

He’ll be making stops at the gravesites of those who served in wars dating back as long ago as the War of 1812.  

The tours on Monday, May 26, begin at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm and will last roughly 90 minutes.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Oakwood Cemetery Sexton’s office on North Randolph Street on the day of the tours.

The tours are sponsored by the group “Friends of Oakwood Cemetery.”  Proceeds will benefit the group and the cemetery.

Hallwas finds Memorial Day significant because it’s important to remember people from the past.

“People who made an effort to do something. People who struggled with some problem. People who were, after all, very much like us despite the fact that they’re back a hundred years ago or whatever,” he said.

Credit Rich Egger
John Hallwas

Hallwas is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Western Illinois University. He’s written or edited two dozen books related to the Midwest. His best-known book, The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America, is about prohibition-era criminal Kelly Wagle, who was gunned down on the streets of Colchester in 1929.

Hallwas said Macomb will continue its tradition of honoring soldiers with this year’s Heritage Days, which has the theme, “Macomb’s Military Heritage.”

Rich is TSPR's News Director.