Secretary of State Jesse White with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Lafore Lock Post 755 honor guard, who presented the colors at the Preserving Their Memories ceremony Sept. 23 at the Illinois State Library in Springfield.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Secretary of State, State Librarian and Archivist Jesse White hosted Preserving Their Memories to honor veterans and their contributions to the Illinois Veterans’ History Project at the Illinois State Library.
The Illinois Veterans’ History Project honors Illinois veterans by documenting and preserving their experiences.
“The Illinois Veterans’ History Project provides a place to honor our veterans, and a written memorial for the people who have served our country,” White said. “Today, there are more than 5,800 records of veterans and their loved ones who have submitted stories to the project. With this initiative, future generations will have a better understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices made by Illinois’ service men and women.”
White served as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, as a member of the Illinois National Guard and a reservist. The project initiative was spearheaded by White in 2005, in conjunction with the Library of Congress, to provide a permanent record of the names and stories of Illinois veterans and their families.
“With the use of technology, my office has been able to share over 250 personal history videos online,” said White, whose own video testimony is included in the project. “It is my hope that the contributions of these veterans will live on and their experiences will not be forgotten.”
At the event, veterans were able to obtain an updated driver’s license/ID card with the word “veteran” displayed on the front of the card. This designation helps ensure veterans living in Illinois who have received an honorable or general under honorable conditions discharge receive necessary services and benefits for veterans.
Springfield resident and World War II veteran Dale Hunter was formally awarded the Republic of France’s Knight of the Legion of Honor Medal by Jean-Christophe Paris, deputy consul general, Consulate General of France in Chicago. In addition, Erica Jefferies, director of the Illinois Veterans Affairs, was honored for her efforts in assisting Illinois veterans.
White was joined by representatives from the Illinois Court Reporters’ Association and Department of Illinois Disabled American Veterans. Prior to the ceremony, volunteer court reporters transcribed accounts from veterans in attendance. The event included musical performances by Glenwood High School’s Titan Fever Show Choir from Chatham and Illinois State Police Buglers. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Lafore Lock Post 755 honor guard presented the colors.
For information about the Illinois Veterans’ History Project, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/public/veteransproject.html.