Special section honors veterans and their sacrifices

Two-hundred and seven.

That’s how many veterans are listed in our Veterans Day special section today. And it’s a record.

The number of submissions we receive has grown each year since we ran our first pages in 2015 honoring 72 men and women who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Some of these men and women are neighbors here in town. Others are the parents, grandparents, children, aunts and uncles of Hinsdale residents.

They are members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines who fought in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many served in times of combat; others in times of peace.

Some brought home a Bronze Star or Purple Heart. Others didn’t make it home at all.

With this issue and Saturday, on Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifices these individuals have offered their country.

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Nov. 11 became a national holiday in 1938, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the holiday’s name to Veterans Day in 1954.

Unlike Memorial Day, the holiday pays tributes to all veterans, with an emphasis on expressing gratitude to living veterans, who number about 16 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It is our honor and privilege to run the photos and brief bios of veterans with a Hinsdale connection. In addition to our special section, we’re recognizing Veterans Day in several ways in this issue.

John Zick, a Navy officer who served in Vietnam, is our 60 Seconds personality profile. In addition to sharing about his time protecting the Cua Viet River off the South China Sea, he talks about what it meant to be on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., last month.

Our pulse feature includes information about ways readers can support veterans through a trio of causes: the American Legion Post 250, the BJ Chimenti Angel Fund for Vets and Pets and the Special Forces Scholarship Fund. A list of some of the Veterans Day activities taking place can be found under special heading in our “Out and About” calendar listings on Pages 26 and 28.

“Our veterans and their families give so much to our nation, and we owe them a debt we can never fully replay,” President Joe Biden said in his Veterans Day proclamation issued earlier this week. “This Veterans Day, we honor the generations of men and women who have served and sacrificed — not for a person, a place or a president — but for an idea unlike any other: the idea of a United States of America.”

We add our voice to his call for all Americans to “recognize the valor, courage and sacrifice of these patriots.”

Thank you, veterans, for your service.