By Scott Lewandowski
During the month of November, the U.S. honors several Military Holidays and Observances. The entire month is National Military Family Month, so if you know a family member of someone who served please give them a call and say, “Thank You!”
We also acknowledge Nov. 10 as the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) in 1775, when the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that two Battalions of Marines be raised for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the USMC.
Locally, the Rockford Detachment 083, Marine Corps League will host a Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., Nov. 11. This is truly an event not to be missed.
Second only to Memorial Day in May, the most important date to honor Veterans comes in November. Armistice/Veterans Day is the anniversary of the 1918 signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. Nov. 11 was designated Armistice Day from 1919 until it was made into a national holiday in 1954—from then on it became Veterans Day.
In the U.S., Veterans Day is to honor the living Veterans whereas Memorial Day is to honor our fallen Veterans. Some people intermix the two holiday’s as the same thing but they are not. In many other countries, Nov. 11 marks the day to honor their war dead.
Winnebago County has a long-standing history with Nov. 11, starting with a reunion dinner held by the Veterans of the Spanish American War in 1898. This event remains significant today with our local Veterans as every year since 1938, in its current form – and as far back as that first banquet in 1898 – area Veterans have joined together for one night in camaraderie and friendship. This year’s Veteran Dinner will be held Saturday at Giovanni’s, 610 N. Bell School Road, with over 300 area Veterans in attendance—again, another must-attend Veterans event!
If you’re interested in honoring Veterans but can’t attend one of the more formal dinners, there are a couple more events for you. At 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at Veterans Memorial Hall, the Rockford Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution will host its annual Veterans Day program. This is a very patriotic event and a nice way to show your support for Veterans and everyone is welcome to attend. The Rockford Chapter will present a special token of their appreciation to each Veteran in attendance. Refreshments will be served following the program.
Another event to honor Veterans this November is the Tribute to Veterans program held 10 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Loves Park City Hall, 100 Heart Blvd. This year’s keynote speaker is Rick M. Kolberg, Retired Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, with music by the Harlem High School wind ensemble and Choraleers.
And finally, here is some news that isn’t an event but something new in Winnebago County. Established by veteran Nick Parnello, “Operation Fallen Flags” will replace torn and tattered Old Glories with brand new ones. Contact Nick at 815-968-1040 for more information.
Scott Lewandowski is the Museum Director at Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum. He will be featured in our pages regularly to present a rundown of Veterans events, issues and affairs in the Winnebago County area. Scott will also inform on national events of interest when possible.