Chicago area marks Veterans Day with several ceremonies | Full event list below

Veterans Day marked with Chicago ceremony at Soldier Field, Aurora parade

ByEvelyn Holmes and Christian Piekos and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, November 12, 2022
Chicago veterans honored by city at Soldier Field
Once again, Chicago honored the men and women of the military at its annual Veteran's Day Commemoration Ceremony at Soldier Field.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Events marking Veterans Day are took place across the Chicago area Friday.

Once again, Chicago honored the men and women of the military at its annual Veteran's Day Commemoration Ceremony at Soldier Field.

"This is really important to me because finally after all these years, a little short corporeal gets to be known because I lived this long," WWII veteran Robert Holbach said.

The sacrifices of the 98-year-old World War II army veteran, along with those who served in wars and conflicts, were acknowledged.

"I also come from a military family, for me it's just a way to recognize where we came from and where we're going," U.S. Army Maj. Kate Nelson said.

The event is the 103rd observance of the holiday and not only brought together members of the Illinois National Guard, but also members of each branch of the United States military.

The holiday grew out of the commemoration of Armistice Day, when World War I fighting between the Allied countries and Germany ended in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Chicago native and Illinois Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Rodney Boyd delivered the keynote address honoring the deeds and the deaths of fallen service members as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other politicians, dignitaries, and military officials looked on.

"Fighting for our freedom, now that is significant, that's something we should remember," Brig. Gen. Boyd said.

There was also the traditional wreath laying along with a special $25,000 donation by the Jewel-Osco Foundation of Color, Inc., a Chicago-based organization that finds homeless veterans housing and re-integrates them into the workplace.

But for many of the military members here, the day was about the joy of the sacrifice of service.

"It's about sacrifice," U.S. Army Maj. Sheena Rubin said. "I'm giving back to the community and honoring our nation."

WATCH | Aurora marks Veterans Day with parade

Aurora is commemorating Veterans Day with a parade to honor those who have served.

In Aurora, they saluted veterans by holding a parade. American flags lined the streets of downtown Aurora as the city came together to honor our veterans.

The parade's theme this year was "Serving Our Country and Our Community."

Veterans from different conflicts marched in the parade, alongside JROTC cadets from Marmion Academy in Aurora.

World War II veteran Richard Miller, 96, served in the Navy in the Pacific theater of war.

Miller said his destroyer, the U.S.S. Drexler, was sunk during battle off the coast of Okinawa, Japan when it was struck by two Kamikaze planes.

Miller managed to survive, even after being stranded in water for hours. He said he often thinks about the men who lost their lives protecting our country.

"I hope there's no more world wars because war, it doesn't make sense," Miller said. "I love this country. I think it is the most wonderful country on the planet."

Also Friday, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall unveiled a new sentry atop the building.

The sentry symbolically welcomed home servicemen and women for more than a hundred years.

The temperature might be dropping Friday, but it's not stopping this city from saying 'thank you' to the men and women who've served in our military.

McHenry High School, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Veterans who served the country near and far will recount their experiences for McHenry Community High School students as part of the annual Veterans Day programs at both the freshman and upper campuses. panel discussions at both buildings feature veterans from Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and other conflicts who will share their stories and take questions from students. the panel discussions will go on all day from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in the upper campus auditorium (4724 W Crystal Lake Rd in McHenry) and the freshman campus theater (1012 N Green St in McHenry).

Evergreen Park HS (9901 S Kedzie Ave.)

The Evergreen park community high school national honor society will host its annual veterans' breakfast early Phis morning. It'll begin at 730am in the school cafeteria, 9901 S Kedzie Ave in Evergreen Park. The NHS invites all Evergreen Park military veterans, and veteran relatives of evergreen park community high school students, to the free meal held in honor of local veterans. Music will be performed by the EPCHS choir and band.

Elmhurst D205, 7:40 a.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m.

Each year there are multiple events held throughout District 205 that honor veterans and many of the schools will be hosting events again this year.

--715 a.m.-10 a.m., Bryan Middle School (111 W Butterfield in Elmhurst) in partnership with their PTA will be honoring veterans with a breakfast event followed by an all-school assembly event. Thirty seven veterans will be in attendance at the breakfast. This year's event will be especially memorable for one of their students. Major Koykar with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division is currently deployed in Romania in an active warzone. Major Koykar will be joining his daughter and his wife, also a veteran, at the event via zoom. Major Koykar's daughter has shared that she is very excited to be able to see her dad and to attend the breakfast with both of her parents in attendance.

--7:40 a.m., York High School (355 W St. Charles Rd in Elmhurst) is holding their annual all-school Veterans Day assembly to recognize veterans in the York Campbell Gym. The assembly will include speeches from U.S. veterans and York students/administrators.

--2 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Churchville Middle School (155 Victory Pkwy in Elmhurst) hosting its 14th annual Veterans Day ceremony. Additionally, students are creating a wall of tribute for all family members/friends who have served.

--2:30 p.m., Sandburg Middle School (345 W St Charles Rd in Elmhurst) more than 60 runners will hit the street to support senior war heroes in the Honor Flight Chicago: Operation Education 5k. The 2022 operation education 5k is a student-led initiative to raise funds for Honor Flight Chicago's mission. Honor Flight Chicago builds awareness and appreciation of veterans for their service and sacrifice for our nation.

Momence Junior High, 801 W 2nd Street, 8:15 a.m./9 a.m.

Momence Community Unit School District 1 hosts a Veterans Day program this morning over at the junior high. The community event honors the service of past and present military personnel. This year's keynote speaker is retired Navy Seal Master Chief Stephen Drum. The program also features an honor guard presentation, music from students, and taps and honor volley fire. The program starts at 9 a.m. at the school gym, 801 w 2nd St. in Momence. There's a breakfast prior at 8:15 a.m.

Elgin U-46 830am/9am/255pm/530pm, elgin u-46 (various)

Elgin School District U-46 plans to demonstrate appreciation for veterans with a series of special events. Students and staff in u-46 will support and honor our local veterans and troops with special ceremonies, concerts, displays, and collections during the month of November. In addition, local veterans will visit classrooms to speak to students about their service and their lives. There are several pre-veterans day events taking place throughout the school district. Among the programs are:

--8:30 a.m.-10:20 a.m., Elgin HS (1200 Maroon Dr in Elgin) current high school staff members who are veterans will participate in a forum with students to take questions and discuss their experiences in the military

--9 a.m., Timber Trails Elementary School (1675 McDonough Rd in Hoffman Estates) Veterans Day assembly

--9 a.m., Heritage Elementary School (507 Arnold Ave. in Streamwood) student-lead Veterans Day assembly featuring student performances

--2:55 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Ellis Middle School (225 S Liberty St. in Elgin) Veterans Day all-school assembly in the gym.

--5:30 p.m.-8 p.m., Streamwood HS (701 W Schaumburg Rd in Streamwood) "Veterans Day Winter Black & Gold Tip Off" featuring a boys basketball scrimmage, girls basketball scrimmage, varsity 3-point shoot-out, wrestling tug-of-war and community free throw contest.

8:30-10:40 a.m. Mundelein HS (1500 W Hawley St. in Mundelein)

Mundelein High School District 120 will stage their military recognition ceremony on Veterans Day. Student leaders will begin the morning by serving breakfast to visiting veterans. The high school master singers and honors concert choir performs the national anthem. And there are three keynote speakers who are veterans connected with Mundelein High School. This is on top of some special presentations given out to World War II veteran Edward Bedno and a Vietnam 50 anniversary commemorative pinning. The program runs from 8:30 a.m. with breakfast followed by the 9am program at the school Annex, 1500 W Hawley St. in Mundelein. A veterans honor walk will then take place at 10:20 a.m. into the high school itself, 1350 Hawley St.

9 a.m., DePaul University (1 E Jackson Blvd in Chicago)

DePaul has one of the largest population of veterans in any Chicagoland school with more than 500. At least 75 people have signed up to attend their Veterans Day student breakfast this morning. Student and alumni veterans will speak about what it means to be a DePaul veteran student. President Rob Manuel will also speak. Some veterans will be in their uniforms. There will also be a "missing man table" and description, a flag folding ceremony and speakers. Speakers will include Brandon Carroll (USMC), Larry Melton (Army), Liam Turman (Army) and James Powers (Navy). The program begins at 9-9:30 a.m. at the DePaul Center 11th floor, 1 E Jackson Blvd in Chicago.

9 a.m., Hersey HS (1900 E Thomas St in Arlington Heights)

A special Veterans Day event will take place today at John Hersey High School. The celebration includes a Veterans Day breakfast and celebratory concert featuring the high school band. The keynote speaker will be Major General (ret) Jim Mukoyama who will be speaking on moral injury, character and service. The program begins at 9 a.m. with breakfast and 10:45 a.m. keynote speech at the high school.

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Lake County Courthouse, 18 N County St. in Waukegan)

The 11th annual Veterans History Project gathering takes place today at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan where preregistered military veterans will tell their stories which will be transcribed by a court reporter and archived in the Library of Congress. Kasey morgan, the court's assistant director of judicial operations and public information officer, said veterans who want to participate in this year's event should have applied ahead of time to participate. There is an emphasis on World War II vets because there are fewer and fewer of them left to share their stories. Starting with a breakfast for the veterans, their families and members of the legal community, Morgan said each vet goes to a courtroom where a judge or attorney prompts them to tell their story before a court reporter.

10 a.m., Mendel Catholic HS alumni (7740 S Western Ave. in Chicago)

The alumni association will be honoring the 15 Mendel men/classmates that fell in Vietnam along with 2 Chicago police officer classmates that died in the line of duty. The ceremony begins with a mass at 10 a.m. held at St Rita Shrine, 7740 S Western in Chicago. The ceremonial mass will recognize fallen Mendel monarchs on the congressional designated 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Additionally, they will be honoring all veterans and their spouses by hosting an us congressional designated 50th anniversary Vietnam pinning ceremony/event. They will also be honoring all Mendel alumni first responders with a challenge coin presentation ceremony. As a part of this first responder ceremony, they will be presenting to Officer Danny Golden's family a US flag flown over the United States Capitol on September 11, 2022. The Chicago Police Color Guard, the Chicago Police Mounted Unit, as well as bagpipes will all be participating in this honoring ceremony. There will be family members of their fallen Mendel men present. For those that can't join the group in-person, they will livestream the ceremony as well at

10 a.m./4:30 p.m./5:30 p.m., Cantigny Park (1s151 Winfield Rd in Wheaton)

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park will celebrate Veterans Day with activities and programs for all ages. In addition, the museum will offer extended hours, staying open until 8 p.m., and Cantigny's daily parking fee will be waived. Among the special programs today will be family craft from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Since World War I, families have hung flags in their windows with stars representing relatives who are serving in the military. Attendees can create a "thank you flag" in celebration of Veterans Day and to honor all who served. Another option there today is the Veterans Day reflection trail from 4:30-8 p.m. People can take a short walk past displays featuring the words of veterans of the U.S. Army's 1st infantry division, from World War 1 to present. Finally, people can share a moment of thanks during the quilts of valor ceremony at 5:30 p.m. in the Visitors Center. Colonel (retired) Nick Johnson from the Illinois Army National Guard will offer some timely remarks about veterans and their service to our country. Johnson served 32 years with the guard before retiring last June. In addition, the Illinois Chapter of Quilts of Valor will honor five veterans during a special quilt ceremony.

10:15 a.m., Aurora (various)

The Aurora community will salute heroes on Veterans Day who bravely served our country and returned home to continue serving in many ways throughout the community. With the theme 'serving our country and our community,' the annual Aurora Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. starting from the intersection of Broadway and Benton in Aurora. It will conclude at the Gar Memorial Hall, 23 E Downer Pl in Aurora, where veterans, parade participants, and guests will convene for a tribute ceremony. The Veterans Day ceremony will feature remarks by Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a U.S. Army veteran, and other local veterans; a roll-call of military branches; and a military salute on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended World War I. During the ceremony, an unprecedented unveiling of the Gar Memorial Hall Sentry will also take place. Removed from atop the building more than a decade ago for preservation, the original sentry has been refurbished and a weather-resistant replica has also been made. The sentry symbolically welcomed home veterans from wars for more than a century.

10:30 a.m., St Charles (112 N Riverside Ave. in St Charles)

The annual St. Charles Veterans Day ceremony will be held this morning in fire station #1. It'll begin at 10:30 a.m. at 112 N Riverside Ave. in St. Charles. The ceremony will begin with the singing of the national anthem, followed by an opening prayer, remarks, a closing prayer, gun salute and taps performance. Mayor Lora Vitek will lead the program saying that St. Charles has been recognized consistently by the U.S. Department of Labor with a gold medallion in the hire vets program.

10:30 a.m./11 a.m., Highland Park (494 Laurel Ave. in Highland Park)

The city of Highland Park will hold its veterans day observance this morning at the Highland Park Public Library. It'll begin at 11 a.m. Representatives from the American Legion Post #145, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4737, and Jewish war veterans #29 will be present. Mayor Nancy Rotering, State Senator Julie Morrison, and State Representative Bob Morgan will speak alongside Captain Jason Williamson, commanding officer Naval Station Great Lakes. U.S. Army veteran Gilbert Levy will also be honored by Jewish War Veterans post #2. The Highland Park High School brass quintet will perform patriotic music. For the first time, the city's Veterans Day observance will include America's White Table Memorial remembrance. This very symbolic (and not frequently performed) presentation is meant to honor those who have served in America's armed forces, as well as those missing in action (MIAs) and held prisoners of war (POWs). There will be four uniformed veterans presenting, and at 10:30 a.m. (just prior to the 11 a.m. inside observance), these veterans will have their covers (hats) on and will be engaged in ceremonious and appropriate salutes, as per military rules, saluting can only be performed while wearing a cover.

10:30 a.m., Crown Point (1 Courthouse Sq in Crown Point)

Crown Point will host their Veterans Day ceremony this morning. Crown Point and the American Legion Post 20 will celebrating starting at 10:30 a.m. on the east side steps of the historic Lake County Courthouse, 1 courthouse square in crown point. Crown Point Mayor Pete Land says that this ceremony is a small way to say 'thank you,' to all the servicemen and women. The city of Crown Point has an executive order allowing full-time city employees who have served in the U.S. armed forces to take a day off. Speakers will include Mayor Land, Post 20 Cmdr Kevin Dvorak, regional director for U.S. Sen. Todd Young Jose Diaz, and Congressman Frank Mrvan.

10:45 a.m., City Year Chicago (303 E Wacker in Chicago)

This veteran's day, more than 150 City Year Chicago Americorps members will work together to package hygiene kits for veterans, including a personalized letter written by the ACMS. The CYC civic engagement team, a team of returning ACMs dedicated to planning and executing service events, reached out to the Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center for insight into how the corps could make a meaningful impact. CYC currently has 29 partner schools in the Chicago Public School District where young adults serve as student success coaches in dozens of classrooms.

11 a.m., City of Chicago (Soldier Field)

The city of Chicago will host its annual Veterans Day commemoration ceremony today. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city will honor local and national veterans during this year's Veterans Day commemoration ceremony which begins at 11 a.m. at Soldier Field inside gate O. The ceremony will take place in front of "American Doughboy" by Ernest Moore Viquesney. Additionally, the event will be livestreamed on the mayor's social media pages as well as on Brigadier general Rodney Boyd, assistant adjutant general for the Illinois Army National Guard, will deliver the keynote address and members from each branch of the United States military and civic leaders will be represented.

11 a.m., Des Plaines American Legion (515 E Thacker St in Des Plaines)

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 311 and American Legion Post 36 of Des Plaines will co-host a ceremony honoring veterans this morning. It'll begin at 11 a.m. taking place at the Des Plaines Community Center. Organizers in particular have extended an invitation to veterans who have served during the past 25 years. They would like all veterans of all the conflicts since Vietnam to please come to the ceremony at prairie lakes community center and be recognized.

11 a.m., Orland Park (14750 S Ravinia Ave. in Orland Park)

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village as they honor all who have served our country. The village of Orland Park will host their annual veterans day ceremony with names newly added being unveiled on the granite walls bordering the village's veterans memorial, Ara Pace - place of peace. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. located indoors at the Orland Park Civic Center.

11 a.m., Lombard (Grace & Maple in Lombard)

The Lombard area community is invited to honor our military veterans by attending the 2022 Veterans Day ceremony at the sunken garden. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in Lombard Common park. Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio will welcome attendees and open the ceremony. This year's keynote speaker will be Vietnam veteran Tom Zilla, who has lived in Lombard for over four decades. Zilla served with the Army's First Corp Aviation Company as a flight operations specialist and a gunner on Huey helicopters. He is the former commander of the veterans of Foreign Wars Lilac Post 5815. Glenbard East High School will also have students perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" as well as acting as buglers. The village event is supported by Lilac VFW Post 5815 and American Legion Lombard Post 391.

11 a.m., Elgin (100 Symphony Way in Elgin)

The city of Egin, in partnership with American Legion Post 57, will honor our nation's veterans during the annual Veterans Day ceremony today. It'll take place at 11 a.m. in the Heritage Ballroom at the Edward Schock Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony way in Elgin. The ceremony will feature a welcome from Mayor David Kaptain and guest speaker Jerry Turnquist, as well as several musical selections from the Larkin High School Band and representation from local veterans organizations.

12 p.m., City Colleges Chicago (10001 S Woodlawn Ave. in Chicago)

The National Women Veterans United plans to hold an event today with Olive-Harvey College. It'll take place from 12-1:15 p.m. Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton will be the keynote speaker for the program today which will honor veterans and recognize female veterans who continue to serve. Seven women veterans will be recognized by Stratton. The women served in different branches of the armed forces and are from different backgrounds and professions, such as judicial, veteran organizations, education, and health care. The program also includes welcome remarks from Olive-Harvey College President Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Terry Prince, and musical selections from bagpiper Robert Cranston and awards.

12 p.m., Buffalo Grove (225 McHenry Rd in Buffalo Grove)

The village of Buffalo Grove will honor all veterans, their families and friends. VFW Post 981 Gold Guard will present and remove the colors, as well as present a very special armed services flag presentation. Speeches and military music will also be included in our celebration. Free lunch will be served before the program. It'll run from 12-2:30 p.m. at Community Arts Center, 225 McHenry Rd in Buffalo Grove.