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Events planned in Aurora area to honor Veterans Day

The Beacon-News - 11/9/2023

Nov. 9—Veterans Day will be honored with a variety of events in the Fox Valley this coming weekend, including a parade in downtown Aurora.

With the theme "Serving Our Country, Serving Our Community," the annual Aurora Veterans Day Parade will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. The parade will start at Benton and Water streets, travel north to Downer Place and then west on Downer Place.

The parade will feature a variety of units, including local veterans' organizations, public safety units, community organizations and youth groups such as Lincoln's Challenge Drill Team and the award-winning East Aurora NJROTC, city officials said.

The parade will conclude at the GAR Memorial Hall, 23 E. Downer Place, where veterans, parade participants and guests will convene for a tribute ceremony.

The Veterans Day ceremony will feature remarks by special guest speaker the Rev. Talaat McNeely, whose life took a profound turn when he decided to serve his country in the United States Army, according to city officials.

McNeely's military career was marked by 12 years of service, where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant, city officials said. His journey in the armed forces included deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which he served as a member of the 2/5 Cavalry Regiment within the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

McNeely is now pastor of Purpose City Church in Aurora and serves as an Aurora Police Department chaplain.

The ceremony will also include tributes to veterans from Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, an Army veteran, and various leaders, a roll call of military branches, a presentation of awards and a military 21-gun salute on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended World War I.

The annual St. Charles Veterans Day ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Fire Station 1, 112 N. Riverside Ave.

The ceremony will include the singing of the national anthem, followed by an invocation, remarks, gun salute and the playing of taps, St. Charles officials said.

World War II veteran Duane Stevenson, who is turning 100 years old on Veterans Day, also will be recognized at the event.

"On Veterans Day we gather as a community to say thank you to our veterans for their selfless service to our country," said St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek in a press release.

North Aurora will hold its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Aurora Veterans Memorial at Willow Way and Farview Drive, North Aurora officials said.

In Yorkville, six veterans will speak about their experiences in the military during the annual Veterans Appreciation program on Sunday at Chapel on the Green, 107 W. Center St.

Veterans lined up to talk are Ed Huss, who served in the Army in 1966 and 1967; Cameron Carter, Marines, 1967 and 1968; Richard Niles, Army, 1969 to 1971; Neil Schilling, Army, 1972 and 1973 and Reserves 1976 to 1998; Jeff Kline, Army, 1978 to 1993 and Reserves from 1993 to 2001; and Cindy Niles, Air National Guard, 1992 to the present.

Doors for the event will open at 1 p.m. for visiting and viewing military memorabilia, event organizers said. The program will begin at 2 p.m.

The program will be followed by refreshments and time to visit and tour the historic building. Built in 1855 as the Yorkville Congregational Church, Chapel on the Green is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is now used for community meetings, programs and is available as a wedding venue.

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(c)2023 The Beacon-News (Aurora, Ill.)

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