DOWNTOWN — Ald. James Balcer (11th), a Vietnam veteran, led a low-key observance of the 70th anniversary of the World War II D-Day invasion Friday at Daley Plaza.
"I don't want it to be forgotten," Balcer, who was a U.S. Marine, said. "I just want it to be remembered."
Tom Day, a U.S. Marine and Navy veteran who has performed at more than 5,000 burials for Bugles Across America, played taps at the wreath-laying ceremony.
"A recording just doesn't fly with me," Day said.
The 75-year-old Berwyn resident added that he typically performs at the funerals of military veterans, police officers, firefighters and other public servants, and that it is meant "to show our respect and maintain their dignity and help their families get through the final hours" leading up to the burial.
Balcer said the ceremony was intentionally kept humble. "I could have brought out more people, but I just kept this small," he added.
More than 9,000 Allied soldiers died in the invasion, but it led to the landing of more than 100,000 troops on the European mainland and hastened the end of the war.
Balcer and Day both reminisced about the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994, in which an estimated 700 invasion survivors saw a re-enactment staged at Montrose Beach.
Balcer said how he's not sure whether there are any D-Day survivors in his Bridgeport ward, adding, "A lot of these guys have passed on now."