"It's something in your heart": Suburbs pay tribute to veterans

  • Joe Werner of Mokena prepared the 1942 M5 3-inch antitank gun that was fired twice during a Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday at Community Park in Palatine.

      Joe Werner of Mokena prepared the 1942 M5 3-inch antitank gun that was fired twice during a Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday at Community Park in Palatine. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • More than 100 cars carrying veterans participated in Wednesday's Veterans Day car parade in Arlington Heights. The parade drove through the grounds of Lutheran Home and Luther Village.

      More than 100 cars carrying veterans participated in Wednesday's Veterans Day car parade in Arlington Heights. The parade drove through the grounds of Lutheran Home and Luther Village. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • A Veterans Day Celebration parade makes its way through the Grayslake Central High School parking lot Wednesday. It was coordinated by the public service practicum class and the GCHS Key Club.

      A Veterans Day Celebration parade makes its way through the Grayslake Central High School parking lot Wednesday. It was coordinated by the public service practicum class and the GCHS Key Club. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Students applaud during a Veterans Day parade through Grayslake Central High School's parking lot Wednesday. The event was coordinated by the school's public service practicum class and Key Club.

      Students applaud during a Veterans Day parade through Grayslake Central High School's parking lot Wednesday. The event was coordinated by the school's public service practicum class and Key Club. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Walter Nalywajko of American Legion Post 943 salutes during the Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday at Community Park in Palatine.

      Walter Nalywajko of American Legion Post 943 salutes during the Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday at Community Park in Palatine. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Arlington Heights Police Chief Nick Pecora, from left, Army veteran and Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes and Army veteran Greg Padovani of American Legion Post 208 wave to veterans Wednesday during a Veterans Day car parade at the Lutheran Home.

      Arlington Heights Police Chief Nick Pecora, from left, Army veteran and Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes and Army veteran Greg Padovani of American Legion Post 208 wave to veterans Wednesday during a Veterans Day car parade at the Lutheran Home. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Glen Ellyn American Legion Post 3 Commander Mike Formento and others from the post greeted vehicles during a Veterans Day event Wednesday at the downtown fire station in Glen Ellyn.

      Glen Ellyn American Legion Post 3 Commander Mike Formento and others from the post greeted vehicles during a Veterans Day event Wednesday at the downtown fire station in Glen Ellyn. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Glen Ellyn American Legion Post 3 Commander Mike Formento, center, and others from the post waved to passing vehicles as they drove by the downtown fire station during a Veterans Day event Wednesday in Glen Ellyn.

      Glen Ellyn American Legion Post 3 Commander Mike Formento, center, and others from the post waved to passing vehicles as they drove by the downtown fire station during a Veterans Day event Wednesday in Glen Ellyn. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • The firing line from American Legion Post 166 takes aim Wednesday during the Glenview Veterans Day ceremony at the downtown Veterans Memorial.

      The firing line from American Legion Post 166 takes aim Wednesday during the Glenview Veterans Day ceremony at the downtown Veterans Memorial. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Courtesy of the Chicago WolvesThe color guard from the Arlington Heights-based 85th Army Reserve Support Command observed Veterans Day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Chicago Riverwalk. The ceremony was hosted by Wayne Messmer, the noted local anthem singer and Chicago Wolves senior executive vice president.

    Courtesy of the Chicago WolvesThe color guard from the Arlington Heights-based 85th Army Reserve Support Command observed Veterans Day with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Chicago Riverwalk. The ceremony was hosted by Wayne Messmer, the noted local anthem singer and Chicago Wolves senior executive vice president.

 
 
Updated 11/11/2020 7:06 PM

Veterans Day always is an emotional time for those who served and their families, some of whom this year were able to attend ceremonies across the suburbs in person despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's something in your heart," said Brian Bushbeck, a Navy veteran from Palatine who served in the 1970s. "If you're not a veteran, you probably wouldn't know what it really means."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Bushbeck was among more than 100 people who attended a ceremony hosted by American Legion Post 690 at Community Park in Palatine, which was among a handful of communities that commemorated Veterans Day with in-person events Wednesday. Others included Arlington Heights, Glen Ellyn, Grayslake, Northbrook and Glenview.

The Palatine ceremony featured a special guest: the post's newly restored, World War II-era anti-tank gun, which was fired twice.

"This is a celebration of our success of various conflicts that we been in," said Korean War veteran Wally Degner of Palatine, who served in the Marines and attended Wednesday's event with his wife, Janet.

Veterans Day, which falls each year on Nov. 11, commemorates the World War I armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers that went effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

Congressman Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat from the 10th District, planned nine stops at veterans events throughout the suburbs, including in Northbrook. He also made video appearances in virtual ceremonies.

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"This is a day we remind ourselves as a nation the freedoms we enjoy, that the liberty we treasure is hard-fought, hard-earned," Schneider said. "And there are people in every generation who put on the uniform and serve our nation, protect our freedom, and we honor them today."

Grayslake Central High School hosted a Veterans Day parade through its parking lot.

"We have a strong track record of honoring veterans at our school on Veterans Day. Because of restrictions this year we had to scale it back, but I think it was a success," said social studies teacher Glen Roeck, the event planner and a lieutenant colonel with the Army Reserve.

Glenview, which canceled its Memorial Day ceremony earlier this year, held a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial downtown.

"It's not so much for the public, but for the people there on the memorial, the Glenview residents who actually died in wars," said Phil Roseman, a member of Joseph M. Sesterhenn American Legion Post 166 in Glenview. "We're honoring them."

A lone bagpiper played in the background as about 25 people from American Legion Post 3 gathered by the fire station in downtown Glen Ellyn. Cars driving past honked their approval.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's important for the people to recognize their dedication and the sacrifices that the men and woman (soldiers) have made for our county," said Mike Formento, Post 3 commander.

More than 100 cars carrying veterans participated in a car parade through Luther Village and past the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights. The Arlingtones barbershop chorus sang and veterans received gift bags.

Lutheran Home Marketing Director Linda Smith said the village's police and fire departments were instrumental in organizing the parade.

"Especially in the time of COVID-19 and the pandemic and all the shut downs we've been experiencing for the last eight months, we need to make sure that we honor and respect our veterans," Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes said. "It's so important that we don't forget them during this difficult time where everybody is shut in."

• Staff photographers Brian Hill, Joe Lewnard, John Starks, Paul Valade and Mark Welsh contributed to this report.

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