Today we honor the fallen men and women who bravely fought to defend our freedoms. These servicemembers selflessly gave their lives so that we can continue to live freely. We recognize this sacrifice today, and never forget all that was given.

At the end of the Civil War, Americans were left with the weight of how best to memorialize the 625,000 soldiers who perished on both sides of the conflict. Originally known as Decoration Day, this special day became a federal holiday in 1971 and is now recognized on the last Monday in May every year.

Across this country Memorial Day is celebrated in various ways, through parades, ceremonies, family gatherings and memorials, all of which serve to honor those who died in service to the United States of America. In the nation’s capital, a special ceremony is held every year at Arlington National Cemetery, where an American flag is placed at each grave. At the Cemetery, the President or Vice President of the United States typically places a wreath on the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,’ which holds the remains of a World War I fighter.

The Illinois lawmakers in the House of Representatives also honored Memorial Day in the House Chambers on Thursday May 25th with a recognition ceremony during legislative session. The Gettysburg Address was read to members through a House Resolution, and individual Representatives read the names the names of servicemembers that died in the line of duty in the last twelve months, who are from their districts. It was a meaningful ceremony that began with the Presentation of Colors, and ended with a bagpiper playing on the House floor.

This holiday is a constant reminder of the sacrifices that were made to guarantee our freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. Today and every day we remember these heroes. To those who courageously gave their lives, and to those who continue to fight today to protect our freedoms . . . thank you!
State Representative Steve Andersson has launched his third annual summer reading program. This year’s theme calls for all the Super Readers in PK-5th grade to participate and read at least ten books of their choice this summer.

For the third year, Andersson has again held this program to continue to motivate students in his 65th legislative district to keep reading during the summer. “Students who read continue to learn, even when they are out of school, which can help prevent any learning loss typically experienced in the summer months,” said Andersson. 

Andersson hopes even more students will participate this year, as the program has continually grown each year it is offered. “The summer reading program is a fun way to encourage students to read, and do so at their own pace,” said the Representative. Students who submit their completed reading forms by August 18th are invited to a special party in the fall, where Rep. Andersson looks forward to meeting all the super readers in the area, celebrating their hard work, and discussing their favorite books!

The program brochure can be found here, which includes additional information and instructions. Should you have any questions, contact Rep. Andersson’s district office at (630) 457-5460.
State Representative Steve Andersson recently hosted a page for the day in Springfield. The Page for the Day program allows students to visit the House of Representatives and help serve their Representative on the House floor during legislative session in Springfield.

Andersson’s Page, Elyssa Jamaludin, is part of The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. Elyssa is from Malaysia but currently living in Rep. Andersson’s district while attending Geneva High School. Each scholarship recipient of the YES program is required to complete several enrichment activities in cultural diversity, government and community service. Elyssa visited the Springfield capitol and served as a Page to learn more about state government and the General Assembly in Illinois.

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program is a public diplomacy effort to help foster meaningful opportunities for youth exchange. It was launched after 9/11 as an initiative of the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the U.S. Department of State to display a commitment to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world, especially those with large Muslim populations.

Since its start in 2003, the program has involved 10,000 participants. It is a fully funded program by the U.S. Department of State, and has available scholarships for secondary school students ages 15-17. You can find out more about this program here.