15 veterans were given plaques and other awards during a ceremony in suburban McCook.
Vietnam veteran William Cochran said he was grateful to be remembered because those who served in that war were not always popular.
"Not much has been done for the Vietnam veterans through the years, but now it seems that the tide has turned," said Cochran.
"All of you who have fought for us - are fighting for us - are the ones who have made possible what today I am doing in Washington, for us to have the freedom, have the democracy," said U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat representing parts of Chicago and the south and west suburbs.
The honorees were given service banners to commemorate their sacrifice for their country.