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Veterans honored throughout Chicago area

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day is a time to remember the contributions and sacrifices of those who have fought for our country.

In a tribute to all veterans, living and dead, from wars past and present, at Rosehill Cemetery Sunday, a group of re-enactors, many veterans themselves, dressed in uniforms representing all of this nation's conflicts.

Rosehill is the largest burial ground of Union Civil War soldiers in the Midwest, and the final resting place for thousands of veterans.

"People don't know how much history we have here and sometimes they're shocked when they come to see it," said Rosehill Cemetery's Diane Comer.

Honoring those who've served and lost their lives since 9/11, Governor Pat Quinn was at Navy Pier visiting Portraits of a Soldier, a traveling exhibit of hand-sketched portraits of fallen service members from Illinois.

"They are living reminders of men and women, many of them very very young, that understood that giving back, that ethic of sacrifice is the ultimate calling of a human being," Quinn said.

One of those portraits belongs to Doris Torres' son, who died in Iraq in August of 2007.

"We grieve for them every single day of our lives," she said. "This gives us comfort when they are brought to the spotlight."

In an effort to celebrate our wounded warriors, the firefighters of Illinois Warrior Program presented brand new minivans to two severely wounded veterans, including Army Specialist Frank Pierson, who lost both legs in an IED explosion in Bagdad five years ago.

"Them giving me a little more independence is a little less worry for my family if I need to go somewhere by myself, or there is an emergency that I have to go somewhere by myself," said Pierson.

Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago, himself a veteran, reflected on the sacrifice made by all who serve.

"I spent 31 and a half years in the Marine Corps," he said. "These kids, like the mayor said the other day, are the 1 percent, the 1 percent who make the choice to serve the country."

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