CHICAGO — At Soldier Field Thursday before the Chicago Bears game against the Carolina Panthers, the national anthem was performed by a veteran who continues to serve, only this time as a volunteer in Ukraine.
“Veterans’ Day at Soldier Field with the Bears,” said Mark J. Lindquist, a United States Air Force veteran. “There’s almost nothing that can beat it.”
Lindquist said he served in the Air Force for years and returned home to Minnesota after active duty, eyeing a career in politics, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago shifted his focus.
He decided to start a non-profit, “The A-Team,” one of only a few U.S. organizations completely run by veterans who are also on the ground in Ukraine trying to help.
“We call Ukraine the front lines of freedom,” Lindquist said. “[And] the mission continues in Ukraine. My buddy Harrison Josefowitz, from the 82nd airborne, and I have been working over there for the past 20 months … doing everything we can do to help.”
In the past when Lindquist went over to Ukraine and helped provide non-military aid in Ukraine, he said the impact was visible on the face of Ukrainians, knowing people from foreign shores have travelled so far to help them in their cause.
“I can’t tell you how important it is when an American shows up in the Dunbas, telling them — the soldiers — that ‘America is with you,’ that means more than anything a box of supplies could bring,” Lindquist said. “To know that America is behind them, [it] helps these guys keep going.”
Lindquist’s trip to Chicago was short — he talked with WGN News on his way to O’Hare International Airport Friday, preparing to board a plane heading back to Poland, from where he would then head back to Ukraine — but he wanted to share a message for others on Veterans Day.
“I would love more veterans to support our cause of freedom … because the mission isn’t over. It remains possible that Ukraine could lose,” Lindquist said. “Without western and American support to continue this fight against Russia, it isn’t a guarantee that Ukraine prevails … America, as the leader of the free world, I think has a responsibility to support our allies in efforts when they need us most.”
For more information on Lindquist’s non-profit or to donate toward helping Ukraine through his organization, those interested can visit markjlindquist.com.
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