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Veterans honored around the county

The Pledge Allegiance led by Post Comdr.George Simons Round Lake Park  (left flag) is said during Veterans Day ceremony

The Pledge of Allegiance, led by Post Comdr.George Simons of Round Lake Park (left of flag), is said during a Veterans Day ceremony at Lake Villa Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4308 at 130 E. Grand Ave. in Lake Villa. | Frank Abderholden/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 11, 2014 2:24AM

Heartfelt gratitude was expressed across Lake County for vets on Veterans Day that included elementary school thank-you cards in Lake Villa, breakfast for veterans at a local nursing home in Libertyville and even free food for veterans at restaurants in Gurnee and Winthrop Harbor.

The ceremony was brought indoors at Lake Villa Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4308 at 130 E. Grand Ave., Lake Villa, where 150 fifth- and sixth-graders from nearby Joseph Pleviak School attended the event for the first time.

“It’s wonderful,” said Post Comdr. George Simons of Round Lake Park, who was a United States Marine serving in Vietnam.

“It’s a good history lesson I think. There they are right in front of you,” he said of the students and veterans in the same room.

Principal Scott Klene said he wanted students to participate because the school is so close to the VFW post. So close, they walked to the ceremony in the drizzle Monday morning. “Rain or shine, the veterans did their jobs, we sure weren’t going to not walk over because of a little rain,” he said.

Klene said the students did research on veterans and the VFW in particular, discovering their website has a lot of teaching tools, and then they made “all forms of cards of appreciation.” Those cards will be placed around the post, which has a hall used for bingo, and a bar and restaurant, in the coming weeks, said Simons.

Monday’s ceremony began with the presentation of a wreath and various flowers and saluting of the flag, followed by comments from presenters.

Comdr. Simons said this day forever consecrates the dead. “We are assembled once again to express sincere reverence. This wreath represents the resting place of many departed comrades who served in all the wars,” he said.

“This is in memory of the heroic dads who have fallen in defense of the United States of America. I place this tribute of our devotion and everlasting remembrance,” said Steve Baker, 38, of Gurnee, who served with the United States Air Force.

“May each future generation emulate the unselfishness and courage of all men and women who fought for freedom,” said Bob Amburgey, 72, of Lake Villa, who served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years.

Bonnie Cataldo of Lindenhurst represented the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lake Villa VFW Post 4308. “We acknowledge the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given their lives on land, sea and in the air,” she said.

At Winchester House in Libertyville a number of veterans arrived for a breakfast Monday morning. ”We have a breakfast for them and a program. We also ring the bell for all the vets who died this year,” said Paul Stenzel, 71, of Hawthorn Woods, adding that six veterans died this year.

In Gurnee at the Golden Corral, veterans eat for free between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the restaurant, 1455 Dilleys Road.

In Winthrop Harbor at Time Out Sports Pub & Grill at 1706 7th St., owner Chris Athanasiadis was serving a free deluxe veal cutlet sandwich for lunch for veterans. His son, Andrew, carried the American flag onto Soldier Field Sunday before the Bears game against the Detroit Lions.

Carillon at Heatherstone in Beach Park also held a ceremony at their Veterans Memorial plaza with members of the Lake County U.S. Marine Corps organization as honor guard, a chaplain from Great Lakes, and members of the community who have military background.

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