SPRINGFIELD- Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Administration today honored the memory of those lost in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 and recognized Illinois’ brave law enforcement officers and service members.
The Governor proclaimed today as a Day of Remembrance for September 11 in Illinois, and signed House Bill 3618, legislation that honors those who work to protect the public and defend our freedom by requiring all State agencies to fly the U.S. flag, the State flag, and appropriate military flags at half-staff upon the death of an Illinois resident killed by hostile fire as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or in the line of duty as a law enforcement officer.
In addition, the State of Illinois is hosting the country’s only Patriots Day Veterans Career and Benefits Fair in Bloomington from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm, and a ceremony to remember the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at 6:00 pm.
“As we remember the anniversary of one the worst days in our nation’s history, Illinoisans should take comfort in knowing that we are not only remembering the tragic events of September 11, but also finding a way to better honor and serve our veterans,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “As these brave men and women have served in defense of our country, they deserve to have a solid, effective system in place with the best services and resources to help them find the jobs and benefits they have bravely earned when they return home to Illinois.”
The event at the McLean County Fair Grounds and Interstate Center in Bloomington offers a veterans’ job fair with more than 80 businesses and agency representatives, showcasing jobs in manufacturing, administration, factory maintenance, security services, law enforcement and corrections, communications, mechanics, and human resources.
“Governor Blagojevich and I have been strongly committed to helping the men and women who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces find jobs. The Governor has been clear in his directive that we create a comprehensive career services program with dedicated staff and resources to ensure that Veterans get the services they need and deserve. With this event, we aim to bring awareness to the community about Veterans employment opportunities available from the state as well as what employers can do for Veterans, deployed service members or those returning from active duty,” said Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) Director James Sledge.
Among benefits and services offered at the fair are information on health care, education, getting a commercial license, help with mental or physical issues or after incarceration, emergency financial aid and help for families of deployed servicemen and women.
Veterans Career Representatives from IDES will also be available to answer questions about various employment services, including the Illinois Skills Match database for placing and hiring veterans. Officials with the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance to those veterans who need help filing their benefits claims and to provide information about the state’s newer services available to veterans.
The Patriot’s Day evening ceremony includes an awards ceremony recognizing the employers who have signed statements of support for their employees who are currently serving in Iraq, and a “Reading of Names” of all Illinois Military, Police Officers, and Firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty since 9/11/2001. Keynote speaker IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth will address the crowd at 7 pm.
“I am proud to be part of an administration that has really stepped up to the plate by creating new and innovative programs to assist its military heroes. This event helps us get the word out about these great programs,” IDVA Director Tammy Duckworth said. “If you can’t make it on to the benefits fair, I encourage you to visit your local veteran service office or call 1-800-437-9824. We want to make sure our service men and women know about the benefits that they are entitled to when they return home to Illinois.”
The event was coordinated with the cooperation of IDES, IDVA, USDOL/VETS and the USDOD/Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
The State, through IDES, helps veterans find jobs, transition back into the civilian work force, and provides employers and veterans’ service organizations resources to enhance the employment of veterans. IDES tactics include job search workshops, individual career counseling sessions, veterans jobs fairs, outreach programs to incarcerated and homeless veterans, employer visits for job development opportunities, and Illinois Skills Match, an Internet-based job match service, that matches veterans first to job openings that match their individual capabilities.
Each IDES office in the state has a staff of trained Veterans Representatives and disabled Veterans Outreach Representatives dedicated to helping individual Veterans find employment. Each Veteran Representatives is a veteran, and it’s their job to offer one-on-one counseling to veterans seeking work, and specifically focus on how to translate skills to conform to non-military work. Rounding out the services, the Veterans Representatives regularly recruit companies and organizations on behalf of individual vets about employing veterans in an effort to encourage more employers to recruit IDES veteran clients.
The Governor’s full proclamation follows:
WHEREAS, on September 11, 2001, a great tragedy befell American soil when four commercial airliners were hijacked by terrorists and sent on a mission that would result in mass destruction and the loss of thousands of innocent lives; and
WHEREAS, at 8:46 a.m. (EST) on that fateful day, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, tearing a gaping hole into the building and setting it on fire. Less than 20 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south tower, causing similar destruction. To the horror of onlookers and viewers across the world, both towers collapsed to the ground within two hours of initial impact; and
WHEREAS, at 9:43 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, sending up a large cloud of smoke and prompting the immediate evacuation of the building; and
WHEREAS, the fourth and final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania at 11:26 a.m. It was because of the heroics of passengers onboard this flight that the plane was diverted from striking its intended target. No passenger or crew member on any of the four flights survived; and
WHEREAS, in all, the death toll on September 11, 2001 reached in the thousands, and in the wake of these attacks our country was in a state of sadness and turmoil, searching for answers and finding comfort in one another. But the overwhelming acts of heroism and patriotism were inspiring, giving us the will to push forward and make our nation even stronger than before; and
WHEREAS, the United States will never fully recover from the events of September 11, which equaled perhaps the greatest tragedy our country has ever seen. But by commemorating this dark day in our history, we are reminded to always remain vigilant in our efforts to stop terrorism and to make this world a more safe and peaceful place; and
WHEREAS, this year, as we recognize the 6th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks and mourn the innocent lives that were lost on that day, we also take time to reflect on our freedom and thank the brave men and women who work hard everyday to defend that freedom for future generations of Americans:
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2007 as a DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR SEPTEMBER 11 in Illinois, and order the flag of the United States of America to fly at half-staff at all State facilities from sunrise until sunset on this day in recognition of the 6th Anniversary. Additionally, I call upon all the people of this state to join in observing a moment of silence at 7:46 a.m. on this day as a solemn gesture of tribute to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and their families.