Northbrook honors veterans’ service
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Updated: November 11, 2012 12:50PM
Every year, for at least the past 10 years, Northbrook Junior High School officials have opened the gym doors to veterans.
Family members took special care to transport their loved ones and neighbors quietly streamed onto the bleachers, all to humbly listen.
Officials and community notables explained why North Shore veterans deserve to tell their stories. Caregivers leaned over to whisper to their elderly charges, explaining the message.
“I was in the Coast Guard,” said Bill Chambers, a Northbrook resident of nearly 50 years. Chambers came to the 30-minute ceremony with his daughter Mary Ann Chambers and her husband Randy Romei.
Before the ceremony began, Bill shared his story.
“I graduated June 29, 1942 from Harrison High School (in Chicago),” Chambers said. “And on the first of July, I was in the Coast Guard.”
Keynote speaker Ron Bernardi of Sunset Foods, who joined the U.S. Coast Guard when he was 19, saluted Chambers. Chambers saluted Bernardi back.
“I was in for four years,” Chambers said. “I was on a destroyer escort.”
Chambers traveled to North Africa and traveled through the Panama Canal. After returning to U.S. soil, he worked for Schwinn (Bicycle Co.) for 50 years.
“I saw “Casablanca” (the movie) in Casablanca, on the ship deck, on a screen they put on the deck.” Chambers said proudly. “It was all right.”
All was quiet as George W. Benjamin American Legion Post No. 791 Past Commander Chris Birren called all to attention.
Bernardi, who began reserve service in 1963 San Francisco, acknowledged his fellow Coast Guard veteran, Bill Chambers, during keynote remarks.
Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum told how she felt when her son went into the service, and how to this day she recalls the loneliness and profound parental pride of her child’s decision.
Legion Post No. 791 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10236 co-sponsored the ceremony, which included a rifle salute and a trumpet performance by Daniel Nibeck, 14, a Glenbrook North High School sophomore.
“I mean, it’s really an honor to be able to perform taps and to be able to pay homage to all of the veterans who serve our country,” said Nibeck, who also played “The Star Spangled Banner.”