SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Members of the Illinois National Guard joined veterans and local officials Sept. 25 at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, to rededicate the WWI Memorial. The memorial was recently relocated to Oak Ridge Cemetery, from First Street and North Grand Avenue, in Springfield, list the names of more than 100 Sangamon County residents who lost their lives during ‘The Great War.’ This ceremony also commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice.
The ceremony featured WWI re-enactors and a keynote speaker from the Illinois National Guard, Col. Mark G. Alessia, Chief of Staff of the Illinois Army National Guard.
“On the surface this monument will always be a simple stone monument, made from the strongest rock mined from the earth,” said Alessia. “The essence and the meaning of this monument, however, is made from the strongest men and women who ever walked this Earth.”
Also, during the ceremony a wreath was placed in front of the memorial to honor the men and women who served and died.
“We can never possibly show enough gratitude for our World War I heroes in our lifetimes,” said Alessia. “We can, however, honor them by protecting all they fought for and by ensuring their story is understood and passed on.”
John Kerasotes, 96, who paid for the monument to be built in the early 2000s attended the ceremony with many family members. After the ceremony concluded family members of the men and women on the monument thanked Kerasotes for honoring their loved ones.
The monument reads, “In Honor of all Illinois Veterans Who Served in WWI.”