Marking Veterans Day, virtually

Cantigny and DuPage County among those offering tributes open to public

The official end of World War I occurred on Nov. 11, 1918, and America has observed the 11th day of the 11th month ever since. The occasion was first known as Armistice Day, and since 1954 as Veterans Day. The yearly observance honors all veterans, living or lost, but is especially intended to express gratitude to those still with us today.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of many regular Veterans Day events, while others have been turned into online programs. Here are a few being offered by Hinsdale-area organizations to help residents get in on a salute to those who served.

First Division Museum

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, is holding several events in observance of Veterans Day.

• Families are invited to pick up "Thank You" flag kits in Parking Lot 5 from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 7. Since World War I, households have hung flags in their windows with stars representing relatives serving in the military. Create a window hanging of your own with this kit and celebrate as a family the meaning of this occasion. The kits are free, but a donation to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans is suggested.

• From 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, the museum presents the online program "They Served: Stories from Veterans" featuring two veterans of the 1st Infantry Division. Maj. Casey Wolfe, a second generation Big Red One soldier, served from 2011-15 in Afghanistan and is currently an Army reservist working as a logistics officer for a regional support group based in Kansas. Sgt. Tom Brown served with the 1st Infantry Division, 10th Calvary, from 1966-68 as a combat infantryman and as a mortar crewman in Vietnam. A Purple Heart recipient, Brown will talk about his service with local students as a member of the First Division Museum's Speaker Bureau.

• Students can say "Thank you" to a veteran for his or her service to our country for a Veteran Mail Call activity. The First Division Museum is gathering notes and letters to distribute to veterans via organizations such as One Savvy Veteran, Honor Flight Chicago, American Legion Cantigny Post 556 and local college veteran associations. Instructions are available online at

• Students are also encouraged to record and preserve history by interviewing a veteran in their life, such as a parent, grandparent or neighbor. A Student Question Guide with instructions, tips and suggested questions is available at Ideas for sharing and supplementing an oral history interview are offered as well.

Those who want to visit the First Division Museum can do so open Wednesday to Sunday on a reservations-only basis. Visitors can choose a morning or afternoon session by registering in advance at

Veterans Day Concert

Join the livestream rebroadcast of Christ Church Oak Brook's 2019 concert honoring and recognizing veterans at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.

Wonderful patriotic and sacred selections will be presented by the church's 100-voice Chancel Choir and Women's Ensemble, the internationally acclaimed Chicago Brass Band and the Singing Men of Oak Brook.

To access the concert, visit just before the start time and click on the portal.

DuPage County ceremony

In lieu of a traditional Veterans Day ceremony this year, DuPage County is planning a virtual gathering to honor veterans and their sacrifice.

The county has created an interactive Veterans Day portal, which will allow residents to create their own Honor Post highlighting their loved one or friend with a photo and written tribute.

"Although we cannot gather in person, it's still important that we recognize those brave men and women who answered the call of service to their country," Chairman Dan Cronin said in a statement. "We hope many of our residents can create posts so that we may all share in these heartfelt tributes to our military veterans."

The website will also feature quotes, poems and videos along with educational and historical information surrounding the Veterans Day holiday.


Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean