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Best Veterans Day Events In Chicago

The Stars and Stripes along with a banne
(Photo Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

For the men and women who fought to defend American freedom and the civil liberties we enjoy, these special events are in honor and appreciation of their service, and in grateful remembrance of veterans who gave their lives for our country.

Opening Reception and Exhibit: Esprit de Corps
National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60641
(312) 326-0270

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

Formed in 1981 as the Vietnam Veterans Art Group, the National Vietnam Veterans museum was re-established in 1996 through an artistic collaboration of war veterans who courageously showcased their art in the nationwide exhibit "Reflections and Reflexes." The work was emotionally compelling and so well received that veterans from different wars began contributing their efforts, eventually transforming the museum's name to the National Veterans Art Museum. NVAM's upcoming exhibition entitled "Esprit de Corps" is an artistic expression of the war as perceived through the eyes of a soldier. The exhibit will be presented at an opening reception alongside the world premier of "Veterans' Voices" performed by Erasing the Distance and Filament Theatre Ensemble, now sharing a space with the museum in the historic Portage Park neighborhood.

Military History Symposium
: On War: Exploring 20th Century Conflict
Pritzker Military Library
104 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 374-9333

Date: Nov. 15, 2013

The prestigious Pritzker Military Library was founded in 2003 and comprises a vast collection of educational research materials and artifacts focusing on American military history. The library provides quality programming designed to educate the public with a greater understanding toward the preservation of democracy in light of political events affecting the citizen soldier. In advance of its 10th Annual Gala celebration, the library will host a symposium led by Pritzker Literature Award recipients including keynote speaker Tim O'Brien, author of "The Things They Carried" and 2013 honorary Pritzker Library Military Literature Award recipient. Interested members may also want to attend a book discussion with Mr. O'Brien the following day (limited availability).

Ceremony Honoring U.S. Veterans
Brookfield Zoo
8400 W. 31st St.
Brookfield, IL 60513
(708) 688-8000

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

Located just west of downtown Chicago in suburban Brookfield, Illinois, the internationally renowned Brookfield Zoo will sponsor a special Veterans Day ceremony in honor of the service men and women who bravely defended our country in times of war. The event will feature a public speaker from the Wounded Warriors Project and will host live and patriotic music along with numerous activities. Also known as the Chicago Zoological Society, the zoo was founded in 1934 with a mission to preserve wildlife in its natural habitat, and was one of the first to introduce moats as an alternative to captivity in separating animals from spectators. Brookfield Zoo houses more than 400 different species including the giant panda, and extends over 200 acres of land.

Veterans Memorial
The Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks
National Memorial and Headquarters
2750 N. Lakeview Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 755-4700

Date: Open through Nov. 15, 2013

The Elks National Veterans Memorial in Chicago's Lincoln Park was dedicated in 1926 to honor American soldiers who valiantly fought and sacrificed their lives in the World War I conflict. Often regarded as one of the most beautifully constructed monuments in the world, the expansive dome's marble rotunda decorates exquisite sculpture of detailed, intricate artwork and historic statues. An architecturally stunning memorial designed to evoke silent moments of admiration, the monument was commissioned by the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, a modest social club that originated in the 1800s. The Fraternal Order has since developed into a great, charitable organization with a membership exceeding one million men and women.

Related: Best Places To Get Your Classical Music Fix In Chicago

Veterans Day Special Event & 'American Heroes' Exhibition
Chicago History Museum
1601 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 642-4600

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

Since its inception in 1856, the Chicago History Museum has grown exponentially with a rich and diverse collection of more than 22 million documents, manuscripts and artifacts. Formerly the Chicago Historical Society, the museum has become a destination and source of knowledge for those who endeavor to understand Chicago's history. Currently on exhibit is the "American Heroes" display commemorating Nisei Japanese American combat warriors who served in World War II. The installation will be presented in conjunction with staged hourly interviews of the soldiers on Veterans Day, enlivened with music and Japanese crafts.

Related: Best Permanent Exhibits In Chicago

Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has studied creative writing at the graduate level. Maggie enjoys composing articles and developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her work can also be found at

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