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July 13, 2006

Illinois’ war heroes to be honored during Veterans’ Day at the Illinois State Fair
Truck that memorializes fallen soldiers of the War on Terror will be on display, world famous U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon to perform

“Mini Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” will also be held

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) will host “Veterans’ Day” at the Illinois State Fair on Sunday, August 13, 2006.  The special day will be held at the Lincoln Stage from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Admission to the Fair for Illinois veterans and their families is free on this day. The fun-filled day will include a free lunch for all veterans who attend and entertainment by the United States Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon, the Springfield Municipal Band, the Springfield Muni Band and the 144th U.S. Army Band.

A special truck named “Standing Proud” will be on display during “Veterans’ Day.”  The “Standing Proud,” owned by Effingham, Illinois, resident Matt Jones, is a specially painted truck that memorializes the fallen troops from the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The names of all those who died in the line of duty are etched on the truck’s body.

The world-renowned United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is a 24-man rifle platoon that executes a series of calculated drill movements and precise handling of their hand-polished 10 and one-half pound M-1 Garand rifles with fixed bayonets.  The routine concludes with a unique rifle inspection involving elaborate rifle spins and tosses.  Five of the Platoon members, LCPL Shawn M. Ballard (Erie), CPL Marc A. Peters (Chicago), LCPL Robert J. Stukel (Channahon) LCPL James J. Sinovich (Hometown) and CPL Cole B. Van Dorn (Glendale Heights) are Illinois natives.  For more information about the USMC Silent Drill Platoon, visit www.marines.com.

“Last year we had the Silent Drill Platoon and had such a great response from the public, we invited them back,” IDVA Director Roy L. Dolgos said.  “We’re very lucky to have these guys back for a second year.”

A “Mini Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” will also be held to help veterans apply for an array of benefits available from both the state and federal governments. IDVA will have several field officers on hand to provide step-by-step assistance to those veterans who need help filing their benefits claims.  In addition, many state and federal agencies, along with regional medical centers and businesses from across Illinois, will be at this event to provide information about job and education opportunities and much more. The goal of the Supermarket is for every veteran who makes the trip to the State Fair to leave with a complete understanding of the programs and benefits they are eligible for and the information and contacts they need to enroll.


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