Veterans invited to dinners this weekend in East and West Dundee

 
By Gerard Dziuba
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 11/8/2018 5:08 PM
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  • East Dundee Piece-A-Cake Bakery owner Diane Ahrens, who served in the Marines, is organizing an Elgin Marine Corps League dinner and Toys For Tots drive to be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at VFW Post 2298 in West Dundee.

    East Dundee Piece-A-Cake Bakery owner Diane Ahrens, who served in the Marines, is organizing an Elgin Marine Corps League dinner and Toys For Tots drive to be held Saturday, Nov. 10, at VFW Post 2298 in West Dundee. Daily Herald File Photo

Since the Armistice 100 years ago, America has been saluting its neighbors and family members who have served their country in the military.

November has been the month for parades, banquets and classroom lessons on how so many men and women have devoted and sacrificed their lives to keep America safe along with other countries around the world.

In Dundee Township, there will be no parade, but veterans will be honored with meals and a party -- one at Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Dundee and another at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2298 in West Dundee.

Men and women who served in the military will be served a free Italian dinner from 4:30-7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 310 E. Main St., East Dundee. On the menu will be lasagna and spaghetti from Aliano's.

Congregation members wanted to recognize their fellow churchgoers, said planner Scott Lyon.

"We're hoping to serve veterans from as many wars as possible," Lyon said. "Their families are also invited."

Few may be there from World War II since time has taken its toll on them. Those who served during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and Desert Storm, as well as the war in Afghanistan, may attend in abundance.

To ensure the room is full, congregation members have contacted local veteran organizations and Veterans Administration hospitals.

"We have about 30 veterans in our congregation. We're hoping many of them can attend," said Lyon. To RSVP, call Alison at (630) 709-6546 or sign up at dinnerforveterans.eventbrite.com.

The dinner is an example of the church's "Share Joy" campaign started this year.

On Saturday, the Elgin Marine Corps League will host a dinner and spotlight women who have served in the U.S. Marines. This year will commemorate the 100th anniversary women have been serving in the Marines.

"They started in World War I in clerical positions and as truck drivers," said coordinator Diane Ahrens. "They served in those positions to free up men to fight in the battles." Most of the women served in the United States.

Ahrens served in the Marines as a military police officer.

"This is a birthday bash. You don't have to be a Marine or a woman to attend," she said. "Anybody can come."

Veterans are most welcome. Tickets are $35. Proceeds will support veterans with physical and psychological problems. Some funds will be spent on honor flights, which fly veterans to various memorials and museums in Washington, D.C.

People who bring an unwrapped, new toy for a child will receive a free ticket for a door prize at the dinner. The toy will be donated to Toys For Tots, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps.

"November is a time to honor veterans. Veterans should be honored every day. The public thinks of veterans more because of Veterans Day," she said.

In 1919, a day, formerly called Armistice Day, was set aside to give applause to veterans. It started a year after World War I ended.

Tickets for the birthday bash can be purchased at the Piece-A-Cake Bakery, North River Street in East Dundee, which Ahrens owns with her husband, Roger. The event, at VFW Post 2298, 117 S. First St., West Dundee, begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and dinner at 6:15 p.m. For details, call Ahrens at (224) 805-1220.

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