While history books document wars, an Antioch-area historical group wants to undertake an ambitious mission to ensure the individuals who have served or are serving in the armed forces are not forgotten.
The Lakes Region Historical Society is launching "Lest We Forget," a project to record the names of all veterans and current military personnel from the village of Antioch and Antioch Township.
The aim is to gather the names and basic information of service members during peace or at a time of war. Organizers anticipate collecting hundreds of names.
"The main point is we want to remember our service people before it's forgotten," said Paul I. Hettich, chairman of the historical society.
The group is asking anyone who has served or is serving in the U.S. military to submit their name, branch, rank and the dates of service to be documented at the Historical Society Meeting House at 977 Main St., Antioch.
"We came up with the idea about a month or so ago, and it formally starts today," Hettich said Tuesday. "We haven't decided how we are going to print or display the names."
Organizers say privacy rules limit what information they can gather on their own for the project, so they are asking the community to contribute the details.
Hettich was inspired to bring the project to the group's board because of his two sons who have each served three-year deployments overseas.
"There was a time when I knew the map of Iraq better than the map of Illinois because both of them were over there at the same time," he said.
The six board members, two of whom are veterans, each have a special connection to the military that has driven them to start the project.
"We want to resurrect the names of all who have served from Antioch," said Ainsley Wonderling, a historical society board member. "I think our project is unique because we are honoring those who have served during a time of peace as well."
Family members of deceased veterans are asked to contact the historical society with their information, so they also can be honored.
"We want individuals to contact us, so it is their choice," Hettich said.
Information can be sent to Holly Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (847) 395-4912.
The historical society also has a museum at 817 Main St. and an archive center at 965 Main St. The Meeting House, where the names will eventually be displayed is open the first Saturday of the month. Admission is free.