Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today recognized hundreds of Vietnam War-era veterans for their sacrifice and service to the nation as part of the national Vietnam War Commemoration program. She was joined at the event by Commissioner Jeff Tobolski (16th), Chairman of the County Board’s Veterans Committee, and representatives of organizations for veterans.
The veterans gathered at Chicago Botanic Garden and were saluted for their service in wartime.
“We are grateful to those who fought and served with honor during the Vietnam era,” Preckwinkle said. “This ceremony is a symbol of our appreciation for the sacrifices that you and your families made as we reflect on your service to our nation.”
“As Chairman of the Board’s Veterans Committee, it is my great honor to host this recognition ceremony of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War,” Tobolski said. “Today and every day, I am humbled by your selflessness and thank you for your service to the United States.”
The ceremony today was part of a national program that recognizes Vietnam veterans. The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes the Secretary of Defense to conduct a commemorative program that honors the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War throughout the U.S. Cook County is a commemorative partner in the program.
The commemoration honors the service of the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War, acknowledges the contributions made by the people of the U.S. during the war, recognizes technological and scientific advances related to military research conducted during the Vietnam War, and recognizes U.S. allies during the war.
The veterans each received several items, including a lapel pin inscribed with the words, “A Grateful Nation Thanks and Honors You.”
The event was organized by Tobolski and Bill Browne, Director of the Cook County Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
Preckwinkle created the County’s first-ever Department of Veterans Affairs in 2013. The DVA works with Cook County employee-veterans and collaborates with veterans organizations in providing information for and helping direct veterans to programs and benefits based on their military service.