Where to Honor Veterans Every Day in Champaign-Urbana
Memorials, museums, and more: Locations in and around Champaign-Urbana that honor veterans
Veterans Day is on November 11. Most kids will be in school, but government organizations are closed and there won’t be any mail (see our list of What’s Open and What’s Closed on Veterans Day here).
This year there are still fewer than usual events honoring local veterans (check our calendar to see if any have been added at the last minute). However, it doesn’t have to be Veterans Day to show our children the impact of the military and veterans in our community.
Here’s a list of places — both outside and inside — in the greater Champaign-Urbana area that provide opportunities for us to reflect on the sacrifices many have made so that we can maintain our freedom and liberty.
Veterans Memorial, Savoy: This small memorial can be viewed off of Route 45, in front of the Savoy Village Hall.
Champaign County Memorial, Urbana: In front of the Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana.
Idea Garden, University of Illinois: In 2020 the Master Gardener volunteers who maintain the Idea Garden announced the “Never Forget” Corner. It is located within the Rose Garden section of the Idea Garden and feature heirloom roses (“Veteran’s Honor,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “Because She Served”) honoring our veterans.
West Side Park, Tolono: A distinguished memorial that was rededicated in 2011.
Veterans Memorial Park, Bement: This is a fairly impressive memorial, especially for a town of 1800 or so. Head to the center of this Piatt County town.
Veterans Point Memorial, Clinton: A large granite memorial by the lake in Weldon Springs State Park honors over 1300 veterans in a beautiful natural setting. “Fifty Flags of Freedom fly on the following holidays: Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Patriots Day, Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”
American Legion Auxiliary Veterans Memorial, Homer: This moving tribute to veterans is located in front of the Homer Village Hall.
MUSEUMS and BUILDINGS
Call ahead before you visit to check operating hours.
Champaign County History Museum: The exhibit “When We Went to War” tells short stories of Champaign County residents who were involved in World War II, including those who were in the European theatre and those who were engaged with the war effort from the home front.
Memorial Stadium, Champaign: Memorial Stadium was originally constructed as a memorial to Illinois alumni who died in World War I. In 2002, the University “extended” the stadium’s original dedication to honor all members of the Illinois family who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and, in particular, the 932 alumni, students, faculty and staff who were killed in U.S. wars and conflicts since 1918. Their names are engraved on four limestone tablets at the entrances to Memorial Stadium’s east and west colonnades.
The Armory Building, University of Illinois: It’s not just for track and field. One of the oldest buildings on campus still in use, the Armory was built for military cadet training, a purpose it still fulfills to this day.
Museum of the Grand Prairie: Located in Mahomet, the Museum of the Grand Prairie has a particular focus on President Lincoln and his doings in Champaign County. There is also a lot of content about local people who served in the military.
Douglas County Museum, Tuscola: This small museum that is mostly run by volunteers boasts a military collection under its roof, including uniforms, weapons, war memorabilia, field radio equipment. It spans all of the major 20th century wars with a special emphasis on World War II. While you are there, spend some time deciphering all the local references in its wonderful new mural, completed in the summer of 2021.
Thank you to all who have served, from chambanamoms.com.