Chicago Honors America's Veterans at Soldier Field on Veteran's Day - November 11

Chicago Honors America’s Veterans November 11 At Soldier Field Ceremony Four-Star General Robert W. Cone to Provide Keynote Address

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have announced plans for this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony, which will be held “on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month” (November 11, 11 a.m.) at Soldier Field. The ceremony’s keynote speaker will be Four-Star General Robert W. Cone, Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Cone assumed these duties in 2011 after serving as Commander, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas and Deputy Commanding General - Operations for U.S. Forces - Iraq.

“It’s important that we always pay tribute to the men and women who commit themselves to serving our country,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “They have sacrificed time with their families and often put themselves in harm’s way for our freedoms. Let’s honor them today and every day.”

Cone’s long and illustrious career began in 1979 upon graduating from the United States Military Academy when he was commissioned as an Armor Officer and assigned to Fort Hood. As he continued to serve in ever-changing assignments, Cone continued his education, attaining a Master’s Degree in Sociology, leading to a position at West Point, and eventually an additional Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 leading Joint Forces Command's Lessons Learned Collection Team and was subsequently assigned Director, Joint Center for Operational Analysis. In June 2007, General Cone deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as Commander, Combined Security Transition Command. Upon redeployment in December 2008, he served briefly as Special Assistant, Commanding General, Training and Doctrine Command before assuming command of III Corps in September 2009. General Cone deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn from March 2010 to February 2011

His awards and decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal (1 OLC), Legion of Merit (2 OLC), Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.

The ceremony will once again take place just inside Gate 0 of Soldier Field in front of the Doughboy statue. Along the wall are benches to provide seating and moments of reflection. The benches contain notable quotations regarding the efforts of those who serve our country. Actual Military Medals of Honor representing the various branches of the armed forces are cast into the backrests.

Alderman James Balcer of the 11th Ward, a decorated Vietnam veteran, emcees the program which will culminate in a wreath laying ceremony at the doughboy, a 21-gun salute, Taps and the Armed Forces Medley.

Soldier Field was named as such at the request of Gold Star Mothers to honor those men lost in World War I. The Doughboy statue, originally placed in Garfield Park, was restored and installed in Soldier Field as part of the stadium renovation. Doughboy is an informal term for a member of the United States Army or Marine Corps, especially members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.

Veterans Day is the one day set aside to thank and honor living veterans who have served honorably in the military in wartime and peacetime. Originally known as Armistice Day and so declared by President Woodrew Wilson, it was created to mark the signing of the Armistice which ended World War I. Following World War II, it was declared a day to honor all veterans and in 1954, renamed Veterans Day by Congress.

FREE parking is available at the Waldron Parking Deck; exit at 18th Street from Lake Shore Drive.

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
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