SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will host “Veterans’ Day” at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, August 12, 2007. The special day will be held at the Lincoln Stage from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission to the Fair will be free for Illinois Veterans and their families all day. The fun-filled day will include entertainment by the world famous United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the Springfield Municipal Band, and the 144th Army National Guard Band. Memorial services will be held honoring Illinois’ fallen service members of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and for all service members. There will also be a “Supermarket of Veterans Benefits” held close to the Lincoln Stage and a parade through the fairgrounds.
“‘Veterans Day’ at the State Fair is a time for Veterans and their families from all over Illinois to come together and enjoy a day of fun,” IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth said. “There will be entertainment, food, and a number of benefit and informational booths for our Veterans and their families. But most importantly, the day is a time to reflect and honor all those who have sacrificed their lives for our country and our freedom.”
Entertainment, memorial ceremonies, a parade, and the Benefits Fair will take place throughout the day:
- 9:00 am – 3:00 pm: A “Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” will be held to help Veterans apply for an array of benefits available from both the state and federal governments. IDVA will have several field officers on hand to provide one-on-one assistance to those Veterans who need help filing their benefits claims. In addition, many state and federal agencies, along with regional medical centers and businesses from across Illinois, will be at this event to provide information about job and education opportunities and much more. The goal of the Supermarket is for every Veteran who makes the trip to the State Fair to leave with a complete understanding of the programs and benefits they are eligible for and the information and contacts they need to enroll.
- 10:00 am: A Blue Star Memorial Dedication will honor all those who have served or are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. The Blue Star Memorial – a large carved stone – will be on display during “Veterans Day” at the Lincoln Stage and will then move to Illinois’ First Lady Patricia Blagojevich’s tent at the Fair.
- 12:00 pm: The world-renowned United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team will perform. The Silent Drill Team is a 24-man rifle platoon that executes a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand-polished 10 and one-half pound M-1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets. The routine concludes with a unique rifle inspection involving elaborate rifle spins and tosses. Four of the Team members, LCPL Jeremiah I.Alamo (Chicago), CPL Daniel L. Anderson (Dwight), SGT James J. Sinovich (Joliet) and LCPL Tyler N. Trump (Decatur) are Illinois natives. For more information about the USMC Silent Drill Team, visit www.marines.com.
- 1:00 pm: A memorial ceremony to honor Illinois’ fallen service members from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom will take place. The War Memorial will be on display at the Lincoln Stage and representatives from various Veterans’ organizations will read the names of those listed on the Memorial out loud.
- 4:00 pm: “Veterans’ Day” will conclude with a parade marching throughout the Fairgrounds. Kick-off is at Happy Hollow just inside the main gate and will end at the Grandstands. Sgt. Garrett Anderson, a Champaign resident who was injured in Iraq, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the parade. Other parade participants will include Veterans from all branches of service and their families, Veterans service organizations, the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, local elected officials, and IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth and staff.