ANTIOCH – Local communities have done well in honoring soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but those celebrations are coming to an end.
It was the winding down of those welcome home celebrations that got Lakes Region Historical Society members thinking how they could create an enduring record of Antioch-area residents, past and present, who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
The project is unique in that the historical society not only wants to include those who served during wartime but also in peacetime, because their service needs to be recognized as well.
“When you sign up, you commit yourself to serve, knowing you may be called up and may have to give your life,” said historical society trustee Jan Krumm.
Paul Hettich, a Vietnam-era veteran whose two sons each served three tours in Iraq, said the Lest We Forget committee views this endeavor as a long-range project given the time it will take to track down the names of military personnel, but the information must be preserved for posterity.
“We need to start this before they are forgotten,” said Hettich, chairman of the Lakes Region Historical Society’s Lest We Forget project committee.
With privacy laws limiting the amount of information the committee can obtain on its own, veterans, current military personnel and families of deceased veterans from the village of Antioch or Antioch Township are asked to submit their information directly.
Submit name, branch, rank and dates served to Holly Garvey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 395-4912. Photos will be accepted. Memorabilia will also be considered.
All veterans submitted for the project must have been honorably discharged.
'Saving space for the next war'
The committee not only plans to record the military service of Antioch-area residents, but wants to display the information within a dedicated military room at the historical society’s Meeting House at 977 Main St.
The committee hopes to have a display up in time for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2014.
The building currently houses a small exhibit with memorabilia and items from the Civil War through Operation Enduring Freedom. The historical society wants to expand its military display with the help of the community.
“We’ve even talked about saving space for the next war,” said Hettich.