Veterans Day Morning of Reflection
The City of Chicago Heights hosted the annual Veterans Day Morning of Reflection on November 11th. Each year, local veterans groups, family, friends and residents gather to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces.
This year, Mayor Gonzalez commemorated the 100th anniversary of World War I with a speech that recognized the approximately 50 million soldiers that fought in "The Great War." The Mayor shared the stories of the sacrifices made by our veterans and highlighted the pivotal influence WWI had on America at home and abroad.
The casualties suffered in World War I were horrific: some 8.5 million soldiers died as a result of wounds or disease. 116,516 U.S. soldiers gave their lives in combat; another 200,000 were wounded, a casualty rate that exceeded our losses in World War II. The War produced casualties even when nothing was happening. On a quiet day on the Western Front, hundreds continued to die from mortal wounds or from the effects of poison gas.
"It is imperative for us to take this day – to remember the tremendous sacrifices made by our veterans on behalf of our liberty," said Mayor Gonzalez. "On this day, I appeal to each and every citizen of Chicago Heights to reach out to veterans in your community. They could be your neighbors. Your customers. Your family members. And maybe even your own children. Reach out to them and thank them. Thank them for their courage. Thank them for their sacrifice. Thank them for helping to make the world a better place."
Bloom High School NJROTC posted the colors as members of the Chicago Heights Fire and Police Departments stood in salute. Dr. Lisa Kristina sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, followed by the invocation by Bishop Ronald White, VFW Post 311. Boy Scout Troop 112 presented the WWI Centennial Flag just before SSgt Promotable Yates, United States Army, recited Sarge Lintecum's poem Invisible Soldier. A somber moment was observed as Mayor Gonzalez and Gordon Moeberg, Catholic War Vets Post 1060, placed the wreath honoring our fallen. LeeAndre Jones played Taps as the Military Squad conducted the closing 21 gun salute. Father Tom Kasputis, St. Agnes and St. Kieran parishes, offered the final benediction, while Bloom High School NJROTC performed the retiring of the colors.
To all our veterans, our lasting gratitude for your service.