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Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and the entire City will honor local and national veterans during this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony at Soldier Field. Brigadier General Kris A. Belanger of the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command will deliver the keynote address, and members from each branch of the United States military and civic leaders will be represented. The ceremony will be held inside Gate 0 of Soldier Field beginning at 11am.
"Veterans Day allows us to honor our heroes, the men and women who wore our nation's uniform and proudly served their country," said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "As a city and as a country, together, we must demonstrate our gratitude to veterans and their families by fulfilling our obligations to them and ensuring they have the resources they earned for their sacrifices and contributions to our country."
The keynote address will be delivered by Brigadier General Kris A. Belanger, 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command. General Belanger assumed Command of the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command on August 15, 2017. The unit is comprised of over 4000 Soldiers in 45 Battalions located throughout 25 states. During the last 27 years of service, she has held a variety of command and staff positions including her most recent assignments as the G-7 of the 80th Training Command and G-1 of the 143d Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC).
The ceremony will take place in front of the statue of Doughboy, an informal term for a member of the United States Army of Marine Corps, especially members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. Soldier Field was named as such at the request of Gold Star Mothers to honor the men lost in World War I. The Doughboy statue, originally placed in Garfield Park, was restored and installed in Soldier Field as part of the stadium’s renovation. The nearby benches for moments of reflection contain notable quotations about service to country and actual Armed Forces Medals of Honor cast into the backrests.
Veterans Day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who have served honorably in the military in wartime and peacetime. Originally known as Armistice Day and so declared by President Woodrow Wilson, it was created to mark the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I. Following World War II, it was declared a day to honor all veterans and in 1954, renamed Veterans Day by Congress.
FREE public parking is available at the Waldron Parking Deck; exit at 18th Street from Lake Shore Drive. For information on all programs presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, visit cityofchicago.gov/dcase and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ChicagoDCASE.
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Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.