About 70 military veterans were honored Friday morning during an assembly at Mundelein High School.
They represented the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Some wore their uniforms, complete with ribbons representing medals earned; some wore civilian clothes but donned caps identifying them as veterans who served during the Korean or Vietnam wars or in other eras.
All seemed to appreciate the pomp of the gathering, and the respect shown by students and staffers alike.
"I think it's important for the veterans to be seen and heard," said Mundelein resident Marie Honeywell, an Army veteran whose husband, Robert, served in the Army and Coast Guard.
The veterans were escorted into the school's main gymnasium by a drum line, where they received healthy applause.
After the crowd recited the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, a wind ensemble played a medley of the songs representing each military branch.
Later, retired U.S. Army Col. Michael Peck spoke to the crowd about the military's role throughout American history.
Peck, the former superintendent of Lake County's Veterans Assistance Commission, also talked about terrorism and rogue nations, saying this is the most dangerous time in U.S. history since 1962's Cuban missile crisis.
Peck urged students to pay attention during their history and social studies classes.
"Education," he said, "is the key to democracy."
In addition to Friday's ceremony, a display of U.S. flags have lined the Munelein High campus all week.