In November 1989, members of the Streamwood Village Board and staff, along with a few residents of the community, discussed the possibility of building a memorial to American veterans between Village Hall and the Village Police Station. Local veterans and veteran organizations also expressed an interest in the idea. As a result, the Veterans Memorial Commission was formed to guide the creation of a special memorial.
The Commission agreed that such a Memorial should honor all veterans, regardless of which branch of the military they served in, as well as Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. The Veterans Memorial is the culmination of the Commission's vision. It includes a Memorial and Historical Walk to honor, in perpetuity, those who have served our country and preserved our freedom.
Dedicated on May 26, 1991, the Memorial sits within a large five pointed star with a flagpole and a black granite monolith, representing each branch of service, positioned at each point. Each monolith displays the great seal of a branch of service on one side and, engraved on the other side, a saluting serviceman and picture pertaining to this branch. Positioned in the center of the star is a larger flagpole, which flies the American flag. There is a smaller star, just off the main star, with another flagpole, flying the POW/MIA flag. There is also a black granite monolith engraved on one side with the POW/MIA symbol and on the other side a figure in a POW Camp.
The Memorial is flanked by an Historical Walk. This walk approaches the main memorial area and continues to the opposite side of the grounds and is lined with black granite markers. The markers list every armed conflict, recognized by Congress, beginning with the Revolutionary War. These Conflict Stones are engraved with the name of each conflict, years of involvement, number of U.S. Military Personnel involved and number of U.S. casualties.
Women In The Military
The Memorial also contains a Women’s Monolith which pays tribute to all women in the military. It is positioned in a small star, just off the main walk. It is also constructed of black granite. One side of the stone is engraved with an image of the globe, surrounded by the service insignia of the five branches of service. Engraved on the other side are women from the five branches of service rendering a hand salute. Below is a service woman helping a fallen comrade. The Women's Monolith was dedicated on May 25, 1997.
The Memorial also contains a remembrance to the canine companions who gave their lives to save their human comrades. The War Dog Memorial was dedicated on May 27, 2001 and pays tribute to all of the dogs that served in the military. It is located on the main entrance to the memorial area. It is a bronze statue depicting a dog alerting a soldier.
A Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross, or Battle Cross, is a symbolic representation of a cross to signify the death of a soldier in battle. The practice began during the American Civil War to identify fallen soldiers on the battlefield. The cross is composed of the soldier’s rifle, bayonet attached, dug into the ground with the helmet resting on top of the rifle, dog-tags hanging off the rifle, and the soldier’s combat boots placed where the rifle meets the ground. The purpose of the Battlefield Cross is to pay honor and respect to the fallen heroes at the battlefield. Fellow members of the troop typically erect them because it is not possible to hold a funeral while still on the warfront.
Memorial Day weekend is a busy time at the Veterans Memorial. The annual Memorial Day Ceremony, held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, includes participants from many area veterans’ organizations, VFW, American Legion, Viet Now, and Color Guards which line the walk in front of the Conflict Stones. Each year volunteers from each branch of service perform the Table Ceremony, symbolic of those military personnel who did not return home. Guest speakers have included several Congressional Medal of Honor recipients as well as Senators, Representatives and other dignitaries.
In 2017, the Veterans Commission inaugurated a new rememberance observation - a 9/11 Memorial. The Commission dedicated a plaque to the memory of the victims - civilians, police officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel - who perished inthe September 11, 2011 terror attacks. The recognition includes the 13-folds ceremony, bell ceremony, 21-gun salute, and taps. The Commission will host this annual memorial observation on September 11 at 7:00 pm.
Each Veterans Day, on November 11 at 11:00 am, the Commission hosts a Ceremony at the Memorial to honor all veterans of the Armed Forces. This ceremony is much simpler and more intimate than the Memorial Day Ceremony. Local Boy and Girl Scout Troops bring their flags and several Scout Color Guards and Scouts participate in the Ceremony. The Commission looks upon this as an opportunity to educate our children on the military history of our great nation.