Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

21° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Evanston celebrates Veterans Day with ceremony in front of Fountain Square Memorial

Yanyan Li/The Daily Northwestern
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss addresses the crowd. From left to right: Josina Morita, Biss, Gregory Lisinski, Brian Beatty, Will Candelario, Christine Candelario.

On Saturday morning, veterans and civilians gathered in front of the Fountain Square Veterans Memorial Wall for a ceremony commemorating those who served in the United States military. 

Former American Legion Evanston Post 42 commander Gregory Lisinski was the first person to stand atop the podium and address the crowd.

Lisinski began by introducing Bienen professor W. Stephen Smith, who sang the national anthem. Henry Revis Jr., who passed away Oct. 20, sang at the last 20 Veterans Day ceremonies.

“I wanted to support the whole cause of supporting veterans,” Smith, who has several relatives and friends who served in the military, told The Daily. “(The ceremony) really reminded me of just how much our freedoms that we enjoy are at the hands of all these veterans.”

Smith and Lisinski were two of around 100 attendees at the ceremony, and events included speeches from several public officials and veterans, wreath-layings from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7186, Evanston American Legion Post 42 and Fort Dearborn Daughters of the American Revolution. Evanston Township High School student Joshua Hoather also performed “Taps.”

Evanston resident and ceremony attendee Nancy Braun said she felt the ceremony was extremely impactful. Braun lost her fiance to the Vietnam War, and has a great nephew who was formerly in the Marine Corps.

“I thought the speeches were excellent, some of the best we’ve heard,” Braun said. “It’s not the words that they say, it’s the emotions they evoke in me.”

Braun lives right across from Post 42, a community center for Evanston veterans, and frequently stops by to chat with its members. She said she was “amazed” by their efforts to help the community.

Following the national anthem were speeches from Cook County Board Commissioner Josina Morita, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss, VFW Post 7186 Commander Brian Beatty, and Post 42 Commander Will Candelario. 

Morita, whose maternal and paternal grandfathers were both posthumous military gold medal recipients, credited the military for giving her Chinese and Japanese-American relatives a place of belonging in the United States. 

“(The military) helped give them opportunities when they came back to build the families that is my family,” Morita said of her grandfathers. “I know that it was hard for my grandmothers who didn’t have their husbands when they were raising their children at home. It’s a significant sacrifice that not just veterans, but veteran families have to make.”

Biss mentioned it was especially important to honor veterans this year given recent global conflicts. 

He reminded the audience that military service is voluntary in the United States, and that people in other nations don’t have the same privilege. 

“I hope that we continue to not take our freedoms for granted or assume that they simply are bestowed upon us by magic,” Biss said. “Know that there are millions of people right now and millions who came before them who have put themselves at severe risk and exposed themselves to significant sacrifice to make it so.”

To end the ceremony, veterans who served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines were asked to stand up, and the crowd came together to sing “God Bless America.”

“When you think about your freedom, when you sit down at your Thanksgiving table, please just take a moment and thank all the veterans,” Candelario, who served in the U.S. military during the Cold War, said to close off his speech. “Thank you for being here and God bless America.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @yyanyanli1

Related Stories: 

Northwestern celebrates Veterans Day, aims to improve support for student veterans

Captured: Northwestern celebrates Veterans Day

Evanston Veterans Day celebration honors service members

More to Discover