Some military parents are among those who've been serving meals to troops on this holiday. They know firsthand what young servicemen and women face.
For 40 Navy recruits, about half way through their basic at Great Lakes, which means they haven't had any home cooking and haven't talked to family for at least a month. American Legion Post 1160 in Chicago Ridge did the cooking and also provided a load of lap-tops for skyping and phones for the joy of a call home.
After hosting a smaller group of 20 new sailors here last year, the organizers learned that apart from more phones and laptops this year they needed certain things not available on base - like chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
"I've never felt this special before," said Navy recruit Elva Reveles. "Wow, amazing."
The recruits feel special and so too do the hosts, like Rich Coluzzi who's son is in Afghanistan.
"It's his second time away at this time, but I'm glad to see the kids enjoying themselves," Coluzzi said. "It makes me feel really good."
"My husband and I need the support of others who've been through it and I know these parents who don't have kids home today appreciate that their children have somewhere to go as much as we appreciated it for our son," said Deb Pyznarski, one of the organizers.
Pyznarski and her husband Rob were all smiles Thursday because they see others doing the same.
"I've never felt like this before," recruit Erin Lyons said. "It's really a happy feeling."