WOODSTOCK – After roughly seven months of preparation and planning, a Purple Heart monument signifying McHenry County's appreciation for wounded veterans will be unveiled Thursday.
Enabled by a March proclamation declaring McHenry County the first Purple Heart county in Illinois, the two-sided monument will be unveiled at 10 a.m. Thursday – national Purple Heart Day. The event will be held at the monument's location, at the main entrance of the McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock.
Behind the efforts to make the event special is Marine veteran Richard Young and his wife, Monica.
Having started the process in January, Monica Young said she expects the event to be memorable. "I have a feeling it's going to be a very tearful day for everyone," she said.
An Air Force T-34 flyover will mark the beginning of the ceremony and a Huey helicopter will hover nearby during a salute to the monument, Monica Young added.
Several speakers will contribute messages throughout the event, including a Medal of Honor recipient; state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry; and state Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, she said.
The roughly $10,000 monument holds sentimental value for Richard Young, who served as a flight line crew chief during the Vietnam War era, his wife said.
"When guys would come home back then, people would be waiting to spit on them, throw things at them, and they had balloons filled with urine," Monica Young said.
Both the proclamation and the monument are meant to give veterans the thanks they deserve, Richard Young said.
There are already monuments in Woodstock and Marengo, both of which mark the two cities as Purple Heart cities. The monument to be unveiled Thursday is representative of the whole county, he said.
"I want everybody to know how the county appreciates the veterans and their service and what they gave up," Richard Young said. "My father and two of my uncles received Purple Hearts."
Donations of time, money and materials have been invaluable thus far, Monica Young said, adding donations to pay for the monument are still being accepted.
The dedication is open to the general public. For more information, go to the Facebook page.
If you go
What: An unveiling and dedication ceremony for a Purple Heart monument, marking McHenry County as the first Purple Heart County in Illinois.
When: 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7
Where: McHenry County Courthouse main entrance (west end), 2200 N. Seminary St., Woodstock