News: Army senior leader joins Chicagoans in honoring veterans during weekend celebrations
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Taylor
CHICAGO — Service members from each armed forces branch joined Gen. Robert Cone, commander, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, during the Veterans Day weekend on Nov. 10 and 11, in a slew of ceremonies recognizing service members and veterans past and present.
More than 100 service members, from the Chicago-land area, participated in a 100-service member flag unfurling, during the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions pre-game show at Soldier Field in front of an audience of more than 62,000. The nation’s colors were presented simultaneously as Staff Sgt. Randy Whight, U.S. Army Field Band, sang the national anthem and the sky lit up with fireworks and planes that flew over the stadium.
“It’s a tremendous event. It shows the support of the American people, but more specifically, [shows the support that] the people of Chicago have for our soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen,” said Cone. “There’s no better place to commemorate Veterans Day as a soldier than at Soldier Field.”
Opening ceremonies also included Pfc. Joshua Vonvuelow, who led the Chicago Bears onto the field, as the American flag runner. Cone participated in the coin toss as an honorary captain and later honored two soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Delval Desavieu, and 1st Lt. Christopher Rothwell, in a Bronze Star award presentation during half time; immediately following, Cone administered a multi-service reenlistment ceremony there on the field.
“We honored some great [service members] here today,” said Cone. “As a member of the Armed Forces, Veterans Day helps gain some perspective on our long history of citizen service to this nation.”
That evening the Chicago Blackhawks hosted a Veterans Day game vs. Edmonton Oilers at the United Center honoring service members in front of an audience of more than 21,000 spectators. Cone stepped out on the ice with Lance Cpl. Thomas Davis, U.S. Marine Corps; and John Diamond, U.S. Navy Veteran, as Jim Cornelison, tenor for the Chicago Blackhawks, sang the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada.”
The evening recognitions concluded with Cone officiating a farewell ceremony “on the ice” for the 956th Movement Control Team, an Army Reserve unit based at Fort Sheridan, preparing for a one-year deployment to Afghanistan.
“This unit will play a pivotal role in orchestrating the retrograde of personnel and equipment from Afghanistan,” Cone said.
Cone returned to Soldier Field the following day, to attend the City of Chicago’s Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony, with representatives from each branch of the armed forces, and gave remarks with U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, and Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.
“Veterans Day reminds us that today’s generation of soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen stand on the shoulders of other generations of great Americans who have gone before us,” said Cone. “The faces and names may change, but the legacy of service to our nation remains the lifeblood of the American service-member... Sacrificing ones personal goals for the good of the unit and nation, committing oneself to a concept of service that is bigger than ones own preference, comfort, or convenience is what service as a veteran means.”
Cone participated in a Wreath Laying ceremony there with Durbin, Emanuel, and armed forces representatives which was immediately followed by a 21 Gun Salute by the 814th Military Police Company, 200th Military Police Command. The ceremony concluded with the playing of “America the Beautiful” by the Great Lakes Naval Band.
That afternoon, the Pritzker Military Library hosted a Veterans Day live webcast where Cone attended as the keynote speaker and discussed where we have been in the last 12 years of combat; what lessons we want to retain; and the significance of the ‘human domain’ in future conflict and future strategic initiatives.
Cone elaborated on several key topics through the hour-long webcast, explaining the importance of understanding the Soldier for their environment, and investing in the Army as a profession.
“When the tanks stop moving, that Soldier becomes an ambassador for the United States,” said Cone. “The Army is a profession, and soldiers are professionals.”
Cone concluded the webcast addressing the ‘Soldier for Life’ program and discussed how to take care of veterans when they leave the military; he then opened up the conversation to questions from the audience, where they had an opportunity to engage Cone about current topics and looking at the way ahead.
“Thank you for doing this right and hosting these inspiring ceremonies these last few days,” said Cone. “It makes a huge difference to all of us who have and who wear the uniform.”
This work, Army senior leader joins Chicagoans in honoring veterans during weekend celebrations, by SFC Anthony Taylor, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.