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NEWS | May 30, 2023

Army Reserve Soldiers join with Chicagoland residents to honor fallen heroes

By Staff Sgt. David Lietz and Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command

Soldiers assigned to the 85th U.S Army Reserve Support Command joined their local communities to honor service during the Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, 2023.

The Rolling Meadows Memorial Day parade brought together veterans, local residents, first responders and military personnel to share in the remembrance of fallen heroes.

As in many communities across America, residents and veterans young and old stood silently to listen to Lt. Col. Brian Dunn, Assistant Chief of Staff G-1, 85th USARSC, speak at the Veterans Memorial Carillon Monument on the cost of freedom and what Memorial Day means.

“Since the founding of our Nation, more than 42 million Americans have stepped forward to serve this country, and more than a million have died so their children and future generations could live freely,” said Dunn. “They came from across our nation and every walk of life. Each different, each an individual who made a choice, yet all shared the same dream of freedom that gave birth to our nation and carried the light of liberty to millions across the globe.”

Marine Pfc. Walter Sanojca of Chicago was one of them. Killed during fierce fighting at the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945.

A loss felt to this day by his niece, Lara Sanoica, Mayor, Rolling Meadows, who reflected on the meaning of Memorial Day.

“For me, personally, (Memorial Day means) my great uncle, Walter Sanojca, who died in the Battle of Okinawa,” she said. “It impacts families for generations. It’s very important we have this day. I continue to serve by running for office. I want to make sure his sacrifice is not forgotten.”

While Rolling Meadows paid homage to fallen service members, the Chicago Cubs baseball team held a recognition during their Saturday evening game, later that night, to honor military service through local serving service members. A cheering crowd of more than 36 thousand Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball fans honored Brig. Gen. Richard Corner, Commanding General, 85th USARSC, during the second inning of their game with the Cincinnati Reds.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Corner. “The crowd and the gratitude people have.”

Cubs’ fans enjoyed watching him too.

“I think it’s fabulous. Our nephew is in the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,” said Michelle Dixon of West Dundee and a Cubs spectator. “To see the general (Corner) honored is great. To see that he is having a successful career and serving his country.”

On Monday, area residents watched the 104th Annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Corner and retired Sgt. Maj. Dennis Koski participated in the parade waving to the crowd as they passed by in an Army style jeep. Following the parade, Corner delivered the keynote speech for the ceremony.

“We can never replace our fallen heroes. We can never repay them. But we can always remember. Words cannot measure the depth of their devotion, the purity of their love, or the totality of their courage,” Corner said. “We only hope that every day we can prove worthy not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones that they left behind.”

The local mayor added a new discovery on a fallen veteran from the community.

“Arlington Heights is a very special place especially on Memorial Day,” said Mayor Tom Hayes, mayor of Arlington Heights, Illinois. “Our 59th hero is Private John Sieburg.”

It was only recently discovered Sieburg was one of Arlington Heights fallen heroes dating back to the Civil War.

Private Sieburg served with the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment as a dispatch rider carrying critical messages between military commanders.

He was shot through his hip, knocked from his horse and died October 12, 1863.

Nadine Lussman traveled from her home in Switzerland to pay tribute to her great granduncle.

“It’s very moving for us that John Sieburg now has a place in Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, his ancestral home,” she told the Daily Herald newspaper. “He’s come home in a way.”

Katie Stack, the widow of Marine Lance Cpl. James Stack who served with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, reflected on the memory of her husband. He was killed by a sniper in Sangin, Afghanistan back in 2010.

“I want my husband to be remembered as this goofy, loving, charismatic man who loved his daughter and me beyond anything in this world," said Stack. "Every single moment he came home he was so excited to see her and sit next to us from all the time he was away. He loved his job. We came first, but his job came second. I want him to be remembered as a hero who fought for this country.”