ELBURN – Sitting at a table surrounded by friends, in a room filled with colleagues and well-wishers, John Reece said he was feeling grateful Sunday afternoon.
Reece, the commander of the Elburn American Legion, was at the clubhouse of the Elburn Lions Club for a Veterans Day-themed event, sponsored by the Elburn Leos, the youth arm of the Lions Club. On Saturday, Reece said the Legion had its own get-together.
And Reece said he'll look forward to Monday, which is Veterans Day, with a flag-raising event, to start at about 8:30 a.m. at John Stewart Elementary School, at 817 Prairie Valley St., Elburn, as well as an event that starts at 11 a.m. at the American Legion building at 112 N. Main St., Elburn, and participants will march from there toward village hall on North Street. Also, he mentioned a Veterans Day concert at St. Charles North High School that has become an annual event.
"It's wonderful the way this community supports veterans and recognizes veterans," Reece said. "It means so much more when it's not just from the American Legion or the VFW."
Youths from the Elburn Leos worked as servers and made cards that were displayed at each table. It is the second consecutive year that such an event was held at the club in honor of veterans.
The event began with an opening statement from James Lloyd, a retired technical Air Force sergeant who lives in Elburn. Lloyd pointed out a table setting that was left empty, set for one, and pointed out the symbolism of that, including red roses, a reminder of the families soldiers left behind, as well as white as a symbol of the purity of their intentions.
A microphone was passed around, and veterans were urged to speak. Also, local Girl Scouts and Leos members performed a medley of patriotic songs to close the event.
Reece, a Desert Storm veteran, sat at a table with Korean War veteran Al Anderson and World War II veteran Jerry Lonigro. Reece said being a member of the Legion isn't just about discussion of time of service. He said it is as much about fellowship and getting together.
"We don't talk about war stories," he said.
He added that the Legion has plans to become more visible in the community, including a tree-lighting event during the Dec. 6 Christmas Stroll event. Giving back is something the group wants to do, he said, considering the outpouring of affection he said members feel from Elburn.
"It gives me a lot of joy to see how this community appreciates the veterans," he said.