Overcast
55°FOvercastFull Forecast

'Our nation will always be grateful for the noble sacrifice made'

WWI plaque dedicated at Dixon's Veterans Memorial Park

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Members of American Legion Post 12 in Dixon stand at attention Monday morning during recognition of Veterans Day at Veterans Memorial Park in Dixon.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Army Major Gen. Michael Robert Smith, who is stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal, reads his prepared speech Monday morning during a Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Dixon. Smith was the keynote speaker. He called for awareness of the nearly 50,000 American military personnel stationed in Afghanistan and "thousands more throughout the world."
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Dick Herbon reads a list of 49 names of Lee County soldiers who died in service during World War I. The Lee County Genealogical Society donated a plaque to Veterans Memorial Park in Dixon that was unveiled Monday. The plaque, inscribed with the names, was dedicated during a Veterans Day ceremony.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Dixon Mayor Jim Burke (left), veteran Tom Whelan and state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, read a newly dedicated plaque containing the names of Lee County soldiers who died during World War I. The plaque was unveiled Monday at Veterans Memorial Park in Dixon.

DIXON – A light rain began to fall on the nearly 100 people who gathered at Veterans Memorial Park on Monday morning, the site of Dixon's Veterans Day observance.

Like other gatherings throughout the country Monday, there was a singing of the national anthem, playing of taps and a 21-gun salute, in addition to speeches from military personnel, veterans and elected officials.

State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, told the crowd he saw a fitting tribute in the wet, cold weather, saying that those who served lived and trained in such weather.

Maj. Gen. Michael Robert Smith, who is stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal, gave the Veterans Day address. He called for awareness of the nearly 50,000 American military personnel currently stationed in Afghanistan and "thousands more throughout the world."

"On this Veterans Day, let us pause to reflect the sacrifices of all who have put on the uniform to serve in the military," he said. "From Bunker Hill, during our Revolutionary War, to the treacherous mountains of Afghanistan, there is a long, gray line – or rather a camouflaged line – of service members who have stepped into the breach, during our nation's hour of need, and did their duty."

More than a million Americans have died while serving in the military, Smith said, and more than 1.5 million have been wounded, some with lasting disabilities.

"Our nation will always be grateful for the noble sacrifice made by these veterans," he said. "We can never adequately repay them, but we can honor and respect them for their service."

Smith called on Americans to hire veterans who are coming home from active military duty. They developed valuable skills while in the military, he said, and their contributions can be seen in things like Veterans Memorial Park, which was built by veterans.

According to a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center, fewer Americans have served in active military duty in the past decade – less than 1 percent – than at any time since the peacetime era between World War I and World War II.

"It's not the same as it was in World War II, where in every neighborhood there was somebody that served," Smith said after the ceremony. "You knew someone, either a family member or a friend whose family member had passed away. Today, when soldiers come back, you have 99 percent that have not served, so the veteran coming back, they've sacrificed, they've committed themselves to a cause greater than themselves, which, when you think about it, is pretty remarkable today."

After the ceremony, when most of the crowd had left, Jim James, chairman of the Dixon Veterans Memorial Park Commission, led the unveiling and dedication of a new World War I plaque.

The Lee County Genealogical Society donated the plaque, which includes the names of 49 Lee County residents who lost their lives fighting that war.

From in front of a F-105 fighter jet at the eastern edge of the park, Dick Herbon read the names.

"... Albert Johnson ... Conrad Miller," he said. "... William Patton ... William Powell ..."

More News

 

National video

Reader Poll

This question is on the Nov. 4 ballot in Paw Paw: "Should the village of Paw Paw adopt an ordinance permitting and regulating the keeping of chickens within the village?" How would you vote?
Yes
No