Attendees stood at attention while Henry Revis Jr. sang the national anthem. Photo by Heidi Randhava

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A Veterans Day Commemorative ceremony to honor the service of U.S. military and veterans took place at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 at Patriots Park. 

U.S. Army veteran Gregory Lisinksi of Evanston American Legion Post 42 extended “a warm welcome on a frigid day” to about 100 veterans and their supporters.

Mr. Lisinski noted that a moment of silence would be added to the program in honor of the moment on Nov. 11 when World War I ended. “It is particularly poignant as we enter the centenary of that war,” he said.

Andrew Goczkowski, Constituent Advocate for U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (9th District), read a statement from her that focused on the need to do more than honor and appreciate those who have served in the U.S. Military.

“Americans need to support and expand policies and programs that benefit veterans,” he said. County Commissioner and Air Force veteran Larry Suffredin, State Representative Robyn Gabel, and Mayor Steve Hagerty were among the other speakers who stressed the importance of programs that support veterans and their families.

Commander James Brusek of Evanston American Legion Post 42 reported statistics that might be surprising to some.

“Approximately 21 million veterans live in the U.S. – roughly the population of the state of Florida. Nearly 7 million Vietnam vets make up the largest living group of veterans,” Cmdr. Brusek said.

Commander Brian Beaty, of Technical  Sergeant William B. Snell V.F.W. Post 7186 and Commander Hal Shanafield, of VietNow, North Suburban Chapter joined Cmdr. Brusek in reflecting on the challenges, sacrifices, and rewards of serving in the U.S military.

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.

The signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany, took place at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.

The day became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Because of  lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, Congress in 1954 amended the act that made Armistice Day a holiday, and the word “Armistice” was replaced with “Veterans.”

The day continues to be observed on Nov. 11, to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.