Special pages way to honor vets on Veterans Day

They served in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Their ranks range from private and seaman first class to lieutenant colonel and commander.

They fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and served in times of peace.

Some are active duty, some are retired. Many are living and many are deceased.

They are the 198 veterans profiled in this year’s Veterans Day special section.

When we ran our first pages in 2015 honoring these men and women, we had 72 submissions. That number has grown each year since.

Now that people are familiar with the format, the submissions are concise and to the point. That first year, though, we received all sorts of notes from relatives who were excited to honor their loved ones’ service.

“He is our hero every day,” one daughter wrote that first year.

And these men and women are heroes, as are all the active-duty members in the five armed services — 426,600 in the Army, 306,270 in the Navy, 147,850 in the Marines, 275,000 in the Air Force/Space Force and 39,000 in the Coast Guard.

In addition to our special pages, we’re recognizing Veterans Day in several ways in the this week’s paper.

Pamela Lannom’s column below outlines her birth father’s experiences as a Marine in Vietnam from 1969-70.

Hinsdale resident Chris Black, who served in the Marines during the Persian Gulf is our 60 second personality profile this week. Many in town might know his wife, Connie, who works in District 181, and his kids, Charlie, Chloe and Collette.

We’ve also included a few of the special Veterans Day activities taking place in the area under a special heading in our “Out and About” calendar listings on Pages 26 and 28.

“Today we honor generations of patriots who have earned the title of ‘American veteran’ — a badge of courage that unites the finest group of former service members the world has ever known,” President Joe Biden stated in his Veterans Day proclamation. “With their selfless sacrifice, our Armed Forces have forged and defended the very idea of America — a promise of freedom and equality, democracy and justice, possibility and hope. We owe them an incredible debt that can never be fully repaid.”

That we do. So thank you, veterans, for your service to our country.