The array of numbers surrounding today makes it the most unique of all.
For the first time since the holiday was conceived as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of World War I in 1917, it will be a day of five elevens.
The original celebration asked Americans to fast east at 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11 to remember the troops who served the American cause in what was then called by then President Woodrow Wilson “The War to End War.”
Today people will mark their appropriate celebration at 11:11 a.m. on 11-11-11. That will not happen again for 100 years.
“We are pausing on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year to remember the troops who fought in what was then considered the worst war,” said. “We want to support all of our veterans for their service to us.”
In Deerfield veterans will gather at 11 a.m. today at Veterans Memorial Park in Jewett Park to mark the occasion.
“We’ll give a little history,” Deerfield American Legion Post Commander said referring to the unique arrangement of the number 11 today. “We remember veterans who are serving, who have served and have gone on to Post Everlasting.”
Some of the people joining Coughenour as speakers will be and World War II veteran Al Zelent. Zelent survived the sinking of the Navy Carrier Princeton during World War II in the South Pacific.
In the early afternoon, Coughenour and some of the others will join veterans who live at for songs and memories.
“We have a piano player and maybe a bugler,” Coughenour said. “We sing songs from the World War II era. We sing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard songs. They (they Gidwitz residents) stand up when their song is played.”
Earlier in the week, Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) kicked off an oral history project through the Library of Congress for veterans in Lake Forest. Though the primary focus of the effort is chronicling stories of World War II, Dold paid tribute to all Veterans.
“On this day we remember all who have served,” Dold said. “They are the ones who preserve the very fabric of our freedom. They all need our support. Not just the ones who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, but those who are coming home now from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
One of the people who joined Dold and a group of seven other veterans was banker Larry Pasquesi of Deerfield. Pasquesi served in the Army during the Viet Nam era after graduating from Loyola University through its ROTC program. Veterans Day is special for him.
“Serving in the military gives you a sense of pride,” Pasquesi said. “It makes you something beyond yourself. It was a good experience.”