ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Following Rockford’s 2023 Memorial Day parade, sailors who died in action were honored at the “Sinking of the Ship” memorial on the Rock River.

This year’s event took place behind the Luther Center on Wyman Street, and hosted by the Navy Club Ship #1.

A replica boat was placed on the Rock River, followed by a reading of General Order 11 and a 21 gun salute, before it was sunk.

The Navy Club said the ceremony is another way to remember those who sacrificed everything for America’s freedom, while also functioning as a teaching tool for younger children.

“It gives us a great feeling of gratitude, that people come down here and recognize what Memorial Day really is, to associate itself with the dead veterans that are no longer with us,” said Navy Ship #1 Commander Bob Lemay.

The Rockford Navy Club has been running for over 100 years. There are only 26 Navy Clubs still operating in the U.S.