Hundreds of veterans, family members gather in Orland Park to honor those who've served

The mournful sound of Taps echoed across the Veterans Memorial in Orland Park on Wednesday.

It is one of the largest Veterans Day ceremonies in the Chicago area.

About 200 veterans and family members gathered on a chilly but sunny morning in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to honor those who have served.

“I want to thank all the vets here today for their service. You represent the best of them,” said Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.

Bruce Shellstrom, 92, was the lone World War II veteran at the ceremony.

“I come every year. I think it’s a duty of everyone,” he said.

There was also a special ceremony for 13 local veterans whose names were carved into the granite wall surrounding Orland Park’s monument, joining 1,300 of their military brothers and sisters.

Vietnam vet Terry Watland’s family had his name engraved as a birthday surprise.

“Amazing. My daughter, my wife did this for our birthday, my 75th birthday. It was a surprise,” he said.

“He’s always very proud of his service. Always. And we recognized him for that. He loves the country and he’s a great American patriot,” wife Millie Watland said.