Honoring those lost in effort to keep all free


Last updated 5/24/2023 at 2:45pm | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Each year since Army Specialist Gunnar Hotchkin was killed in Afghanistan, his lifelong friend Preston Bokos and the Bokos family place flags, roses and a history of Hotchkin's sacrifice at the tree planted in his honor in Burlington Park on Memorial Day. Bokos and Hotchkin were close friends, swimming together on age group teams and in high school. At Hinsdale Central, Hotchkin, Bokos, Vince Allegra and Bryan Bateman captured the 1996 state title in the 200-yard free relay. "His time there (in Afghanistan) was short lived but valuable to every American for our freedom," Bokos told The Hinsdalean in an email. "His dedication and leadership guided his peers to be tight, to serve our country during the difficult times of war. As Hinsdaleans, we all can respect and appreciate what this community has done for our upbringing and not forget those that have sacrificed to give us our freedom each and every day." (Jim Slonoff photo)

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Canadian John McCrae was a military doctor serving in World War II when he found himself positioned on the west bank of the Ypres-Yser canal in France in April 1915.

On May 2, 1915, his friend, Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed by a direct hit from an 8-inch German shell when he left his dugout. He was 22 years old.

Historians offer differing accounts of when McCrae penned the first draft of what would become "In Flanders Fields." Whether he wrote the now-famous poem right after Helmer was buried or the next day, it has become a poignant part of Memorial Day remembrances in Hinsdale and across the country.

The poem, along with the names of Hinsdaleans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, will be read at a ceremony Monday, May 29, outside village hall. The event will follow the Memorial Day procession through town, which begins at 10 a.m.

We also have a tradition of honoring the lost by printing their names each year.

World War I

Dietrich Andorf, Malcolm Brown, Leslie Chandler, Henry Colton, Fritz Engel, Charles Galavan, William Geffert Jr., Edwin Henderson, Harry McAllister, Linus Ruth and Thomas Weddel

World War II

Alvin Berg, George Brcik, Robert Cassels, William Cassels, Kenton Clarke III, Densmore Collins, William Cook, John Crossan, James Dicken, Frederick Dyas Jr., Samuel Elia, Paul Goveia, James Gordon Jr., Oakave Griffin, Harmen de Haan, Martin Harnisch, James Hastings, John Hench, William Holch, John Lamson, John Loehman, James Mehaffey, Elmer Maves, John Minard, Ernst Moeller, Arthur Paulsen Jr., John Phelps, Charles Raymond, Martin Roth, Albert Ruzicka, Louis Seidcheck, Clayton Talfen, Gilbert Vetter, Kenneth Vix, Thomas Weber, Eugene Whitlow, Mark Whitman, Philip Williams Jr., Kenneth Williams, Laddie Zeman and Carl Zitzka

Korean War

Robert Archibald, Allen Drallmeier, Irwin Eggert and Jack Welle

Vietnam War

Harvey Lofgren, John O'Connor, Thomas Peterson, Michael Spotswood, Thomas Utter and Lester Weber

Afghan War

Gunnar Hotchkin


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