Do Something Speical for Veteran’s Day

By: Ray Hanania

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News Americans claim they are not superstitious, but we are, when it comes to numbers. Well, this year, Veteran’s Day will fall on 11-11-11 and to me that’s as good as any reason to do something extraordinary. Mayor of Oak Lawn Dave Heilmann agrees and he is proposing that the date is unique enough to plan something big in his community. And he thinks that other communities should start planning now to coordinate something across the county. “This is going to be a unique year so I thought Oak Lawn could take the initiative throughout the entire region and gather as many veterans and families of veterans as possible to do something special,” Heilmann said. “It’s a simple idea. We would have veterans, their families, children and grandchildren of veterans to hold up signs along 95th Street that would showcase the names of their relatives who fought and served our country. Can you imagine what that would look like – 95th Street filled with children holding high the names of veterans as a special tribute?”

Heilmann thinks that the idea is worthy enough to have schools participate. “It would be worth having the children out of school because it would be educational as well as a celebration,” Heilmann said. Heilmann said he wants to do something because he believes public support for veterans on Veteran’s Day could be and should be stronger. “Veteran’s Day is a big day in our country’s history, yet every year we see a very small gathering to truly honor the veterans,” Heilmann said. Heilmann suggested Oak Lawn could raise some funds to cover the expenses, without using taxpayer dollars by selling commemorative souvenirs marking the special date. “I think this idea could draw support from people from Chicago, the suburbs and throughout the state if it is done right. Maybe even nationally,” Heilmann said. Heilmann also says the idea might also have another benefit. “We hear so much about fighting in government every day on the national and local levels. I think it’s good for a community to hear that their government is stepping up with positive initiatives. It’s not going to change the world or end our daily problems. But for one day, a day we would all remember, we’d be giving back to those who sacrificed so much. I think they deserve that,” Heilmann said.

I think Heilmann’s idea is a great idea. Maybe Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel might join in the effort and so might mayors in other suburban communities like in Bridgeview, Burbank, and Orland Park. Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin has been a big booster of recognizing the role of veterans. This year is a big year for many reasons. Not only is it a special date combination for Veteran’s Day, but this year also marks the 10th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That tragic event created more veterans and more sacrifices, too. These are all things we should not take for granted.

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media consultant. He can be reached at

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