Nov
10

Honor Veterans All Month Long

November 10, 2011

Friday is 11/11/11. Besides being the luckiest day ever (I always make a wish at 11:11, you too?), it’s also Veterans Day, a day to honor the service men and women who work tirelessly to protect our country.

adorable baby in camo in front of an american flagVeterans Day is a state and federal holiday as well as a bank holiday, and most schools are off, including Chicago Public Schools. Chicago Public Libraries will be open, though, thanks to the latest push from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago residents to keep them available for students when school is out.

Most government buildings will be closed for the holiday, including unemployment offices, but there’s no mail delivery, either, so at least there will be no bills coming to your door.

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So: How are you going to spend Veterans Day?

Through the “America has NOT Forgotten” campaign, all Americans are asked to take small actions to show support for the men and women serving our country.

These actions could be anything from flying your flag at half-mast on the last Friday of each month to honor those lost in the war during that month to writing a note of support to service members to donating items for troops overseas.

“The campaign is a national effort to remind Americans that thousands of young men and women continue to serve in dangerous places around the world,” said Operation Support our Troops – America President Deb Rickert. “Now, more than ever, our military and their families need to know that America supports and cares for them.”

Throughout the month of November, all Chicago-area MB Financial bank locations will serve as drop-off sites for donated comfort items to be sent to troops.

These items include: crackers, canned pasta and soup (28 oz or less), granola bars, foot powder (14oz or less),  tuna, microwave popcorn, canned nuts (20 oz or less), individually-wrapped hot chocolate and coffee packets and one-pound bags of ground coffee.

“Even as we bring our troops home, we must remember the many men and women who continue to serve our country throughout the world,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. “We have a duty to support the men and women in uniform who sacrifice every day for our country.”

For more ideas on things you can do, visit osotamerica.org or operationhomefront.org.

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Chicago will mark Veterans’ Day with a ceremony at historic Soldier Field on Friday, 11/11/11 at 11 a.m.

The event will include a wreath-laying ceremony, a 21-gun salute, performances by the 85th Army Band and the United States Naval Academy Gospel Choir, and a keynote speech from Purple Heart recipient Army Specialist Danielle Green-Byrd, a Chicago native who was one of the first women to be wounded in Iraq.

The ceremony and parking are free and open to the public. For more information, visit explorechicago.org.

To celebrate in the suburbs, check out the Daily Herald for a great list of activities.

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Secretary of State Jesse White this week unveiled a new red, white and blue Illinois license plate that honors women who are serving or who have served in any branch of the military.

This is the 28th veteran license plate available in Illinois. To get one, visit cyberdriveillinois.com.

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Last, but certainly not least: Thank you to all the service people and their families who have sacrificed so much for our country and for our freedom.

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

~ Cynthia Ozick

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