Mayor, aldermen honor those who served in online Veterans Day ceremony
The recorded ceremony aired on the Chicago Mayor’s Office Facebook page and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ YouTube channel.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was joined by aldermen and veterans at the Chicago Cultural Center to commemorate Veterans Day in a ceremony aired online Wednesday morning.
“I would like to thank the many men and women who served our country, and also those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said. “We celebrate you.”
The ceremony was aired on the Chicago Mayor’s Office Facebook page and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ YouTube channel. Segments and speakers were recorded recently in remote locations, such as a wreath-laying at the Victory Monument in Bronzeville.
The ceremony began with a presentation of colors recorded at Hubbard High School’s football field by students from Chicago Public Schools’ ROTC program, as well as the national anthem performed by Cadet Maximilian Daichendt of Lane Tech High School.
Villegas and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) — both veterans — were with the mayor at the Cultural Center to share their stories of joining the Marines. They also thanked veterans, and those now serving, for their service.
“I want to thank the 18 million veterans that are living in this country — particularly the 17,000 that are residents of the city of Chicago — for protecting, for sacrificing your time, and many of who have sacrificed their lives to protect our democracy and our great way of life,” Taliaferro said.
Lightfoot acknowledged the “difficult time” the country is experiencing due to the pandemic and the results of the presidential election.
“As a pandemic continues to rage, we are all called upon to step up and sacrifice in remarkable ways,” Lightfoot said. “We must honor our democracy and move to a peaceful transition of power.”
Remote keynote speaker Allen J. Lynch, a Chicago native, Army veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, talked about the idea of freedom and whether the country is worth fighting for.
Lynch said many veterans return from war having lost arms, legs, eyesight and sometimes their sanity. But he said many veterans he knows believe it was worth it to protect the country.
“It’s the Constitution that we serve that keeps us free. It’s our Bill of Rights that keeps us free. And yes, that is worth fighting and dying for,” Lynch said. “This country exists because we veterans have worn the uniform and those of us on active duty are wearing the uniform.”