Cedarburg free lunch for vets at American Legion

It can be hard to truly comprehend the sacrifice our country’s veterans have made and even harder to provide a proper thank you. At the American Legion Post in Cedarburg, veterans were remembered and honored Thursday, Nov. 11, getting some help from the younger generation, too.

"We take care of them," said Mary Garner, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 288 president. "We love them. They’re our lives. They’re my life."

For the veterans who spent their lives serving others, members of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 288 were happy to serve something as simple as lunch.

"It’s a very special day," said Jerry Smith, Post 288 third vice commander. "Sorry if I get choked up."

"They don’t like to bring the spotlight on themselves, but when you think of what they’ve gone through for us, a sandwich and some cookies and goodie bag doesn’t even scratch the surface of what we can do for them," said Maggie Geiger, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 288 member.

"There is a free lunch," said Smith. "As they say, there’s never a free lunch. Today, there’s a free lunch."

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It wasn't just a free lunch for veterans. The bags had something special inside.

"They’re all individually written, so it’s nice to see the support from the children, the kids in school," said Jim Fox, Vietnam veteran. "History is not taught enough, as far as what we went through."

Learning local grade school children care enough to write the letters was a bright spot for veterans like Fox on a cold, rainy Veterans Day.

"It gives me a little warmth in my heart, the fact I can use that to sleep better at night," said Fox. "That’s the main reason."

"We’re so grateful," said Garner. "Everyone today was going, ‘Oh, it,s raining.' I said, ‘They spent much more worse times in foxholes and stuff than we’re experiencing today.’"

The free lunch served as a reminder of how far a simple gesture can go.

"I didn’t have the same return when I first came home, so it was a much better experience this time, for sure," said Fox.

The American Legion Post 288 started the free lunch drive-through in 2020 as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, they made more lunch bags – 100 of them – expecting a bigger turnout.

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