My Brothers Before Me: A Military Reunion & Retrospective

“It is a proud privilege to be a soldier – a good soldier (with) discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to comrades and to his superiors, and a self-confidence born of demonstrated ability.” George S. Patton Jr.

For those who risk their lives to protect our freedom, it is a selfless act of valor that is done without asking anything in return. The brave men and women of the military should always be honored for their sacrifice. The liberty we enjoy is much because of the brave men and women of the military who dedicate their lives to protecting the nation. We are proud to share our communities with you that are dedicated to remembering our veterans – DuPage County is the place to DuMore Honoring.

We’ve put together the following trip ideas for A Military Reunion & Retrospective in DuPage County:

Spirit of the American Doughboy, Naperville
Inspired by tales of returning soldiers and John McCrae’s World War I poem, “In Flanders Fields,” sculptor E. M. Viquesney was determined to honor the bravery and sacrifices of the American men who fought for democracy in Europe during the "War to End All Wars.” The soldiers, affectionately known as “doughboys,” faced brutal conditions on the battlefields and many never came home. In Naperville, the names of seven local doughboys who died while serving their country are engraved on a plaque near the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” life-sized bronze statue located along Naperville’s Century Walk.

Cantigny Park, First Division Museum, Wheaton
Cantigny Park is the former 500-acre estate of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor, and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Cantigny was named after a small village in France, where Colonel McCormick commanded an artillery battalion in 1918 as a member of the U.S. Army’s First Division. The Battle of Cantigny was America’s first victory in World War I. Cantigny Park opened to the public in 1958 and is home to The Robert R. McCormick Museum; The First Division Museum; Cantigny Gardens and Trails; Visitors Center; Education Center; and Cantigny Golf. 

Interior of the Illinois Aviation Museum in Bolingbrook, IL

Illinois Aviation Museum, Bolingbrook
Preserving the past and ensuring the future. The Illinois Aviation Museum, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2004 and is currently housed in Hangar One at Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport. It features a unique collection of war vehicles, helicopters, and planes, each one having a compelling story and legacy. Guided tours are available. Admission is free. 

DuPage County Veterans’ Memorial, Wheaton
This Memorial commemorates DuPage County residents killed in military conflicts at home and abroad beginning with the Black Hawk War in 1832 and continues to our most recent overseas engagements. Also honored are the five branches of military service with special recognition of five DuPage County soldiers who received the Medal of Honor for selfless valor in battle. It was designed as a sundial to symbolize the temporal nature of war and illustrate the chronology of our nation’s conflicts. 

911 Artifacts in DuPage County
Three years ago, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey ramped up its effort to donate rubble from the World Trade Center being stored in a hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Thousands of applications flooded in for scorched and bent pieces of steel that the Port Authority refers to as “artifacts.” In Illinois over the last couple of years, 46 municipalities and fire departments—none of them in Chicago—have been given literally tons of Ground Zero ruins. The only caveat: The pieces must be displayed for the public. And they are, in memorials that commemorate our fallen heroes.

  • College of DuPage

The Homeland Security Education Center shows off a 1,000-pound steel slab illustrating terrorism’s consequences. 

In addition to a seven-foot-long, 2,000-pound twisted beam, Michigan artist Bill Cooper included 100 pounds of Pentagon rubble. The memorial’s namesake, a Naperville native Navy man, died in the Pentagon attack.

A three-foot beam atop a pedestal is the centerpiece of this simple memorial outside the southwest suburb’s fire department headquarter. 

An artifact from wreckage belonging to Tower One of the World Trade Center, an elevator floor platform and support framing system from the former Manhattan skyscraper, is on display at the police station. A deputy police official helped decorate the wall behind the artifact, which includes a photograph of the World Trade Center site before and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The image of the blue sky behind the buildings includes tiny images of all those who died in the attacks.

Willowbrook 9/11 Memorial

For an entire list of 911 artifacts found in and surrounding DuPage County,

DuPage Veterans Foundation - Honor Flight Chicago, West Chicago
Honor Flight Chicago
gives WWII and Korean War Veterans a day of honor by flying them free of charge to Washington, D.C.  for a day of viewing and reflection at the war memorials. Flights are provided through Southwest Airlines and leave from Midway Airport. The event is unique and fun, taking place in the Calamos Hangar at the DuPage Airport Authority in West Chicago.  WWII and Korean War Veterans are the honored guests, and the music, amazing displays of vintage military aircraft, vehicles, and memorabilia are of that Era.  Tribute is paid to the military with a touching patriotic program that includes bagpipers, posting of colors, “Taps”, Roll Call and more. 

Well-Known Military Attractions Outside of DuPage County
Military enthusiasts can visit other well-known museums, memorials, training centers and other destinations dedicated to honoring and thanking those that have served our country and protected our freedom.