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Members of the Evanston Police honor guard held up flags and carried rifles during the National anthem at the White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday, Sept. 2 – and will repeat the honor Friday, Sept. 9, at Wrigley Field.

“We reached out to the clubs and they invited us to participate,” explained Sgt. Dan Keeler, a 15-year veteran of the honor guard.

Evanston Police Department at last Friday’s White Sox game. From left, members are: Officer Amanda Fernandez, Sgt. Dan Keeler, Officer Nate Basner, Sgt. Erv deLeon, Detective Clara Just and Officer Heidi Bernhardt. Credit: Chicago White Sox

Keeler said the group consists of nine members of the force, but frequently not everyone can attend due to the needs of the department. As volunteers in the honor guard they pay their own costs, including uniforms.

At the Sox game there were six EPD participants, two holding rifles and four holding flags: the U.S., Illinois, City of Evanston and EPD flags.

“It was really cool,” Keeler said of the Sox appearance, only the second baseball game at which they’ve appeared. Prior to Friday, they made an appearance four years ago at a Cubs game.

The honor guard has been active since the early 1900s, Keeler said. Nowadays it provides services at the city’s Fourth of July parade, Juneteenth celebration, police appreciation ceremony, 9/11 observance and the fireman’s memorial, among other official city events. At baseball games the unit appears during the National Anthem.

The guard traveled to Springfield in May to participate in the annual service honoring police throughout the state slain during the prior year.

Les Jacobson

Les is a longtime Evanstonian and RoundTable writer and editor. He won a Chicago Newspaper Guild best feature story award in 1975 for a story on elderly suicide and most recently three consecutive Northern...

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