CHICAGO, Ill. — U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division were distinguished guests in a historic Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony at Soldier Field on Nov. 11, 2022.
To honor this day, Soldiers currently serving in America's oldest active duty division attended the event to commemorate the long history between the unit and the city of Chicago.
"Veterans Day is a day when we recognize those who have served honorably in uniform and pay tribute to the sacrifices they have made for this country," said acting 1st Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Albert Serrano. "Ceremonies like this not only bond 1ID Soldiers past and present but celebrate those who have served in uniform."
1ID and Chicago have a long and deeply rooted connected history. Cantigny Park, the former estate of Col. Robert R. McCormick, is home to the First Division Museum, an institution dedicated to the history of the "Big Red One." For more than 60 years, the park has provided fascinating insights about America's 1st Division past and present.
"Veterans Day recognizes those who have served honorably in uniform," said Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. "All of you are role models for our great nation and represent a select few that have stood up for America."
Over three dozen Soldiers from the Division, each branch of the United States military, and local civic leaders took part in the ceremony, which took place in front of the American Doughboy statute by Ernest Moore Viquesney. Doughboy was an informal term for a member of the United States Army or Marine Corps, primarily used to refer to members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
"Veterans Day is our sacred opportunity to remember and thank veterans of past and present for proudly serving our country," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "As we honor their bravery and sacrifice, we must demonstrate our gratitude to veterans and their families by ensuring they come home to a city that cares for them and fights for their happiness and prosperity in return."
The division marked its return to the city amid some elements deployed forward to areas of Eastern Europe, supporting the United States European Command Enhanced deterrence initiative.
"I'm extremely proud to be a part of this division and would like to thank the city of Chicago for hosting us today," said U.S. Army Capt. Chase Antony. "As someone who grew up here, it's heart-warming to witness this while also seeing Soldiers from across the Division take part in this ceremony is such a monumental and special occasion for me."
For active duty and veterans alike, this ceremony reflected the service and sacrifice of those who continue to support and serve the nation.