About 100 people, veterans and nonveterans alike, gathered at Fountain Square on Friday, Nov. 11, to recognize and honor those who have served.
Greg Lisinski of Evanston American Legion Post 42 presided over the simple, dignified Veterans Day ceremony. Of all the words he spoke that day, perhaps the most impactful ones were those he spoke as the ceremony drew to a close.
“People commonly refer to this as the Evanston Veterans Memorial, but this is not the Evanston Veterans Memorial. It is a war memorial. The people on this wall never got a chance to be veterans,” Lisinski said.
That simple fact hung in the cold November air. As veterans are honored across the country, many are in crisis. Those in attendance were urged to spread the word about the Veterans Crisis Line: Veterans can dial 988, then press 1. No enrollment in VA benefits or health care is needed.
The ceremony began with traditional elements: the presentation of the colors, singing the national anthem and a short reflection honoring a higher power.
After the speeches, wreaths were placed at the flagpole by members from veterans groups and auxiliaries. The Post 42 rifle team offered a salute and Paul Hletko, a senior at ETHS, played taps.
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was honored for his service. Suffredin is in the final weeks of his fifth and final term as commissioner for the 13th District that includes Evanston.
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss spoke and two council members, Krissie Harris, 2nd Ward; and Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward; also attended.