DES PLAINES – Governor Pat Quinn today commemorated Memorial Day by unveiling the “Portrait of a Soldier” memorial exhibition at the Des Plaines Oasis and announcing the summer exhibit schedule at multiple Tollway oases in Northern Illinois. The exhibit features a series of hand-drawn portraits of nearly all of the 306 Illinois men and women who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, Iraq, Afghanistan or in combat service to our country since September 11, 2001. The exhibit is part of Governor Quinn’s long-standing commitment to honor Illinois’ men and women in uniform.
“With ‘Portrait of a Soldier,’ we pay a special tribute to our state’s brave servicemembers who gave their lives to protect our freedom,” Governor Quinn said. “From Memorial Day to Independence Day, visitors to Illinois Tollway oases will have the opportunity to view the faces and read the names of our state’s true heroes who remain in our hearts every day.”
The exhibit, on display at the Des Plaines Oasis Saturday, May 25, through Sunday, June 2, will then travel to the Belvidere Oasis through Sunday, June 9. The exhibit will also be on display at the DeKalb, O’Hare, Lake Forest and Chicago Southland Lincoln oases, ending with the July 4 holiday weekend.
“We are honored to again highlight the service of Illinois’ remarkable men and women by displaying these portraits at oases throughout the Illinois Tollway system,” Illinois Tollway Board Chair Paula Wolff said. “We invite Tollway customers to see this poignant exhibit and join us in commemorating the lives and sacrifices of our servicemembers.”
Governor Quinn founded the “Portrait of a Soldier” memorial exhibit to honor fallen servicemembers in 2004 after artist Cameron Schilling of Mattoon, a student at Eastern Illinois University, drew the first portrait of Army Spc. Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, who was killed in Iraq. Schilling then committed to drawing a portrait of every Illinois servicemember who has fallen during the Global War on Terror.
“Memorial Day is an important opportunity to reflect on and express thanks for the sacrifice that thousands upon thousands of military men and women have made in serving our country,” Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Erica Borggren said. “This sacred day also reminds us of our shared obligation to honor and remember our fallen heroes and their families.”
|Portrait of a Soldier Memorial Exhibit Schedule
|Saturday, May 25 – Sunday, June 2
||Des Plaines Oasis, Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
|Monday, June 3 – Sunday, June 9
||Belvidere Oasis, Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
|Monday, June 10 – Sunday, June 16
||DeKalb Oasis, Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
|Monday, June 17 – Sunday, June 23
||O’Hare Oasis (Schiller Park), Tri-State Tollway (I-294)
|Monday, June 24 – Sunday, June 30
||Chicago Southland Lincoln Oasis (South Holland), Tri-State Tollway (I-294/80)
|Monday, July 1 – Sunday, July 7
||Lake Forest Oasis, Tri-State Tollway (I-94)
Governor Quinn has made commitment to our Veterans, servicemembers and their families one of his top priorities throughout his career in public service. He has led programs including the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program and the Veterans Cash lottery ticket, which has awarded more than $10 million to not-for-profit organizations across the state that provide health care and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, housing assistance, disability benefits and other services to Illinois Veterans. He also championed numerous Veterans’ causes during his service as Lieutenant Governor and Illinois Treasurer.
For more information on the “Portrait of a Soldier” exhibit or to view the portraits online, visit www.OperationHomefront.org.