Wreaths were laid at the statue of John Logan, a Civil War general and founder of Decoration Day, which later became Memorial Day.
The wreaths were placed at the statue by members of each branch of the armed services, and by gold star families, and Daughters of the American Revolution.
"(Monday) is not about veterans, it's not about sacrifice, it's about martyrs, people who stepped between some threat and you," said retired U.S. Marine Capt. Christian Palmer.
Ten Illinois soldiers were killed in the line of duty in the past year, while 253 have died since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.