At one event, young men and women in uniform marched through the streets of Aurora. The celebration was a heart-felt 'thank you' from Aurora residents and city officials.
The Veterans Day parade began what was to be an all-day tribute to the men and women of the armed services.
"You see on the news all the time that someone's been killed in action, even local people," said Debbie Shamblin who attended the parade.
The East Aurora High School ROTC band was just one of several entrants in Thursday morning's event. Sergeant First Class Stacy Muse was too.
"I'm always just humbled by this day," said Sergeant Muse.
Once again, the far western suburb celebrated the men and women of the armed forces by acknowledging the privileges and freedoms most enjoy, ultimately because of the price many have paid and continue to pay with their lives.
Specialist Anthony Cutrone and a group of Illinois National Guardsmen recently completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
"It's still dangerous over there. We're actually in an infantry unit, so we see the worst of the worst. But that's our job. That's what we signed up and volunteered to do," said Cutrone.
Residents honored veterans at an emotional wreath laying ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park. During the ceremony, World War II Army veteran Donald Brengman reminisced about his brother James who was killed in combat in 1944.
"It's an honor to be here. I passed through my brother's outfit two days before he got killed," said Brengman.
After feeding their spirit, many of the veterans and their family came to a first-of-its-kind luncheon to share stories and enjoy the privilege of serving their country.
This is the first year that several veterans groups got together to sponsor the luncheon which hosted over 250 people.
The Aurora event was just one of dozens of tributes to the country's military personnel around the Chicago area Thursday. Several veterans attended a South Side parade on Thursday. It was the Bronzeville Veterans Day parade along King Dr. Several military schools and organizations marched while bands performed. After the parade, there was a ceremony of remembrance at the Victory Monument at 35th Ave. and King Dr.
Other Chicago-area veterans and their families were honored Thursday at the United Neighborhood Veterans Memorial School campus. Several classrooms at the school were dedicated to the veterans as a way to honor their service to the country. It was the third annual Veterans Day ceremony at the school that opened in 2008.