Field of Honor commemorates service in Carpentersville
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News September 9, 2012 8:20PM
Ryan Weyrich, 8, of Cub Scout Pack 36, prepares before the 2012 “Field of Honor” parade in Carpentersville, Ill., on Sunday, September 9, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media |
Updated: October 11, 2012 6:10AM
CARPENTERSVILLE —People gathered at Carpenter Park this past weekend in order to honor the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The memorial service has been held at the park for the past three years.
According to Gilberts volunteer Harry Mierisch, the first year provided a welcome home for Vietnam veterans and a display of flags for missing veterans. The second year commemorated the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
This year honored the First Responders who died during 9/11 and all Illinois military men and women who have died since 9/11.
“I hope everyone enjoys the event and understand what it’s all about,” Mierisch said. “Keep remembering.”
“This is a great turnout for a somber occasion,” said Illinois Sen. Michael Noland (D-Elgin). “The foundation did a great job. Thanks to them, we will never forget what happened.”
Noland said we should give credit to our nation’s leaders.
“We should be proud of President Obama for capturing Osama bin Laden and proud of President Bush for dedicating the resources to make sure justice would be done,” he said. “We should consider ourselves lucky. If we had not done what we did, it could have been much worse. We are a proud, powerful and giving people. With great power comes great responsibility. We are now able to see the end of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have our leadership to thank for that.”
Locally, the event was sponsored by The Village of Carpentersville, Otto Engineering, Revcor Inc., Villa Park Office Equipment, Dundee Township Park District, and True Patriots Care Foundation.
“9/11 changed more than the New York skyline,” said U.S. Army Col. Marion Garcia. “It changed a generation, and it made us stronger. This past decade marks the first time our military faced a conflict with an all-volunteer force. In the last 11 years, 1.3 million men and women have been deployed.”
Huntley High School senior Craig Lambert, Elgin High School senior Sam Perez, Elgin Community College student John Mayer, Dundee Crown High School graduate Rafael Huerta, and Hampshire High School graduate Celeste Membreno came together to the Field of Honor on Saturday evening. All five recently signed up for military service.
Streamwood couple John and Melissa Cummings came to the Field of Honor in memory of their son, Marine Col. Ryan John Cummings. He was killed at the age of 22 in Iraq on June 3, 2006.
“It was his third tour of duty,” said Melissa.
John said that their son had signed up to serve on Sept. 10, 2001, one day before the United States was attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.
The park flew 64 flags for each of the United States coalition partner countries.
It also displayed flags for the 403 First Responders killed on 9/11 alongside flags for the 323 Illinois military who were killed since 9/11. The average age for the fallen military servicemen and women was 26 years old, according to Jerry Christopherson, foundation chairman.
“The flags are overwhelmingly beautiful,” Melissa said. “As a parent, the worst fear is that people will forget. This keeps Ryan’s memory going.”
Amy Loukota, a 1995 graduate of Dundee Crown High School, sang the National Anthem and “Amazing Grace” on all three days of the event. Students Katie Ostrem and Jacob Kerley from Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills took turns leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Speakers included Noland, Illinois Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) and Carpentersville Fire Chief John Schuldt.
A 9/11 Memorial Patriot Day Parade began at Otto Engineering on Sunday afternoon and wound its way to the park. Fire trucks from East Dundee, West Dundee, Algonquin and Kirkland drove in the parade along with antique fire trucks from Elgin Fire Barn No. 5 and the Northern Illinois Fire Museum.
Other parade entries included: Sinful Saints Dixieland Jazz Band, FISH Food Pantry, Dundee Highlands Troop 621 Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township, JAFrate Transport Services, Flying Carpets Medinah Shriners from Addison, the Dundee Crown High School Marching Band, Warriors Watch, Troop 43 Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and the Dundee Scottish Pipe Band.
Algonquin couple Glen and Brenda Vodicka parked their bicycles in order to watch the parade. “We happened upon the parade while we were on the bike path,” Brenda said.
Ray Reusch said that the foundation wants to build a bronze 9/11 monument by the Fox River in Carpentersville. The monument would show firemen raising the American flag at Ground Zero.
“The monument would be one of five built in America,” Reusch said. “The other monuments would be in San Diego, Texas, Washington D.C. and New York. After the monuments are built, we hope to raise money for military families.”
For more information, contact True Patriots Care Foundation in Carpentersville at (630) 730-0558; email@example.com.