BATAVIA – Veterans Day falls on a Saturday this year, and Mike Breyne hopes it makes it easier for members of the community to attend the annual service planned at 10 a.m. Nov. 11 at Batavia VFW Post 1197.
Past commander of VFW 19th District Illinois, Breyne will deliver the keynote address. He said the service will include a color guard and patriotic tunes by the Batavia Community Band.
The event is held inside the post’s banquet facility along the Fox River.
“At the end of the ceremony, the band will have a bugler … play taps,” he said. “And the rifle squad … usually will fire the rifles out on our deck behind the building.”
He said another tradition will be the POW/MIA table ceremony. Five places will be set to represent each branch of military service, and a member of the VFW Auxiliary will explain the symbolism of the table’s elements. The lemon and salt signify a bitter fate and tears shed.
“The inverted glass represents they’re not with us and they can’t drink a toast with us,” said Breyne, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. “It’s pretty moving. We do it every Veterans Day and Memorial Day.”
His keynote address will compare the overseas war duty experiences of different generations of veterans. Breyne said he would look at everything from climate, shelter and food to length of deployment.
“Nobody had it easy,” said Breyne, a member of the Batavia VFW. “There were differences, but we all equally did our job.”
He said he hopes schoolchildren will attend with their parents as part of the gathered group.
This year’s master of ceremonies will be post trustee Andy Franke, a former Marine and past post commander. The post commander and auxiliary president also will share a few words, as will likely the commander of Batavia American Legion Post 504. Breyne said city officials usually attend, as well as members of the Batavia Fire Department.
The service is set at Island View Banquets, formerly called the Hangar, and located at 645 S. River St. (Route 25), Batavia. To learn more about the VFW post, visit bataviavfw.org.