of Armed Forces Day in Burr Ridge
By Larry Atseff
Despite a steady downpour on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, nearly 200 veterans and families gathered under a tent next to the Burr Ridge Veterans Memorial to pay respects to those who have served and those who are currently serving in our armed services. The crowd was brought to its feet by keynote speaker Major General Robert Castellvi, Inspector General of the Marine Corps, as he remarked that the servicemen and women of today are the equal of those he has seen in his 37 years of service at all levels in the Marines. Castellvi, registered as a Burr Ridge resident, urged everyone to encourage young people to consider the armed services as a worthy career. And, then, he asked everyone to remember the soldiers in every branch of the military who are serving all over the world today. “And when you think of those serving, think of a soldier in a rocket artillery battery with the US Army 2d Infantry Division, the Indianhead Division, in South Korea. This morning he did maintenance on his rocket launchers, maybe cleaned his rifle; and tonight he’s sleeping next to his kit, knowing that in a war on the Korean Peninsula, he could be in combat in a matter of hours, under missile attack in a matter of minutes.”
“Think of that Sailor in the US Seventh Fleet, on the bridge of a Guided Missile Destroyer, transiting through the Taiwan Strait and onward around the contested islands in the South China Sea; sending a message about our resolve to maintain peace and security in the indo-pacific and enforce freedom of navigation through international waters.” “Think about that pilot and air crew in US Air Force 525th Fighter Squadron in Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson Alaska. Sleeping in their flight suits because they’re on strip alert to intercept any aircraft coming across the arctic, to test our defenses and our resolve. Or how about that Air Force missile crew on alert with the 740th Missile Squadron, deep underground at Minot AFB, SD, armed with the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. These are Airman we’re counting on to think clearly in the event the unthinkable occurs.” “Think about that Marine in an infantry battalion out of the 1st Marine Division, who last week said goodbye to his wife and kids and deployed to the Arabian Peninsula to serve as a rapid reaction force across the region, from Syria to Iraq, and along with an Army Ranger battalion, will provide combat ready over watch of the withdrawal of our remaining forces from Afghanistan.” “Think about that Communications Tech with US Cyber Command and the National Security Agency at Ft Meade Maryland who just got on watch.
“THINK ABOUT THAT MARINE IN AN INFANTRY BATTALION OUT OF THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION, WHO LAST WEEK SAID GOODBYE TO HIS WIFE AND KIDS AND DEPLOYED TO THE ARABIAN PENINSULA TO SERVE AS A RAPID REACTION FORCE ACROSS THE REGION, FROM SYRIA TO IRAQ”
Is today the day an adversary tries an intrusion into a critical defense network, or maybe another attack against our energy sector, maybe this time taking out the electrical grid across a major city in our homeland.” “Think about that Coast Guardsman on the crew of a Coast Guard cutter operating off the Florida coast. On the same day that crew could be called upon to intercept drug and human smugglers at sea, and turn around and have to launch a search and rescue assets to save the crew of a vessel in distress.” “Think about that National Guardsman in DC who thought he was going back to college last January, just to find himself mobilized and spending the better part of the semester guarding the US Capitol …. or how about his fellow National Guardsmen in AZ who last week was mobilized and will likely spend most of the summer deployed to the SW Border to assist in the migrant surge.” “Lastly, I want you to think about a senior at Lyons Township and maybe one at Benet Academy who this summer are going to ship off to recruit training or head off to college and join the ROTC as an officer candidate. Imagine the butterflies in their stomachs.”
“Finally, I leave you with my favorite Armed Forces Day quote; it’s from Ronald Reagan, the president and commander-in-chief in my lifetime who inspired me the most; and arguably one of the greatest in our history, in terms of impact on our country and the world.” ‘The men and women in our armed services are our final protection against those who wish us ill. The soldier, the sailor, the airman, and the marine, in the United States and around the world are the ultimate guardians of our freedom to say what we think, go where we will, choose who we want for our leaders, and pray as we wish’. This was from his 1982 Armed Forces Day radio address.” The event also honored two winners of the Jack Schaus’ Patriot Award. Pat Liss, who comes from a military family, was the 2020 winner. She was recognized for her long dedication and service to Honor Flights, making cards to remember veterans in retirement homes, and her support of the Gary Sinise Foundation. In these ways, Pat keeps the memory of the military alive. The 2021 winner is Charlie Hartley who served in WWII and Korea. A Hinsdale resident and owner of Hartley’s Cycle Shoppe, Charlie has been active in his community for years and has been a strong supporter of the American Legion and its efforts to honor the military, for decades.
*Photos by Marcello Rodarte