Best 2014 Veterans Day Events In Chicago

November 3, 2014 6:00 AM

Veterans of the Vietnam War look for the names of friends and loved ones on “The Wall” during a Veterans Day event at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall November 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people gathered at “The Wall” to pay respects and honor the men and women who served during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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People serving in the US military and veterans are honored and thanked at many sporting events throughout the year. However, when November 11 rolls around, there are several events throughout the country that honor people who serve in the military. Old-timers likely remember November 11 as Armistice Day which originally commemorated the agreement between Germany and the Allied countries in 1918 to end World War I. After World War II, the day honored all US veterans. Congress renamed it Veterans Day in 1954. Today, most Veterans Day events start on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The following events are good opportunities in the Chicago area to thank, recognize or help veterans and current military service men and women.

Fifth Third Bank Appreciation Day
Union Station
2010 S. Canal St.
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 704-6200

Date: Nov. 11, 2014

Now in its fourth year, Fifth Third Bank Appreciation Day takes over Union Station’s impressive Great Hall to assemble care packages, invite visitors to write thank-you notes, hold a scholarship fundraiser, present speeches and hold other volunteer projects and services. This year, will have a veterans’ hiring event. The bank’s care packages will go to US military in Afghanistan. The fundraiser is for Folds of Honor Scholarships which go to spouses and children of military personnel who were disabled or killed while serving the country and Operation Support Our Troops will assemble holiday stocking packages. Among the lump-in-the-throat moments are when packages are passed hand to hand (think fire brigade line) out the door to waiting postal service trucks. The program takes place after Soldier Field’s Veterans Day program to allow those participants to come to Union Station. Click the above website or the Union Station calendar here for more details.

Chicago Veterans Day Ceremony
Soldier Field
1410 S. Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 235-7000

Date: Nov. 11, 2014

Chicago’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony aptly takes place inside Soldier Field at the life-sized Doughboy Statue. Members of World War I’s American Expeditionary Forces were known as doughboys but the term is still informally applied to US Army and Marine Corps members. The stadium has been called Soldier Field since 1925 when the Chicago Gold Star Mothers asked it be changed from its Municipal Grant Park Stadium name when built the previous year. Look for benches along the wall that have military service quotations and backrests embedded with Military Medals of Honor. Exit Lake Shore Drive at Eighteenth Street to park free at the Waldron Parking Deck. The ceremony includes wreath-laying, 21-gun salute, Taps, music and speeches.

Cantigny Veterans Day
Cantigny Park
1S151 Winfield Road
Chicago, IL 60189
(630) 260-8187

Date: Nov. 11, 2014

Normally open from 9 a.m. to sunset, the park extends its hours on Veterans Day to include a luminary display from dusk until 9 p.m. and War Letters, hour-long readings of letters from soldiers at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Donated by Colonel Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny has a military museum and artillery on the grounds. McCormick renamed the estate, inherited as Red Oaks Farm from grandfather Joseph Medill, to reflect his World War I service at the Battle of Cantigny, France.

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Waukegan Veterans Day Parade and Veterans Plaza Dedication

Genesee Street and Grand Avenue to Washington and West Streets
Waukegan, IL 60085
(847) 309-6406

Date: Nov. 11, 2014

Starting off at Genesee Street at Grand Avenue, the Waukegan Veterans Day Parade will have all branches of the US armed services, the VFW, American Legion, veterans auxiliaries and support groups and local and state politicians. The parade ends at Washington and West Streets for the dedication of Veterans Plaza at the site of the old Homer Dahringer American Legion Post 281. Contact to receive more information.

Veterans Memorial Park Dedication
220 Civic Center Plaza
Glendale Heights, IL 60139
(630) 894-1358

Date: Nov. 11, 2014

VFW Post 2377 and the Village of Glendale Heights are holding a dedication ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. The event, including more information on the village’s scrolling announcement on the website, features scout troops, members of the Glendale Heights Police Protection District and Glenside Fire Protection District, Glendale Village Board of Trustees and Mayor Linda Jackson. The park has a fine trail with spots that mention the armed services and plays a recorded Taps at sundown.

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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on