The 75th annual Veterans Dinner will be held by the Winnebago County Veterans Association on Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Road.
This year’s keynote speaker is decorated retired Air Force Officer, Major General John L. Borling. As a fighter pilot, he served worldwide in high level command and staff positions during his 37 years of service. A graduate of The U.S. Air Force Academy, National War College, Harvard Business School, JFK School Executive Education, and was also a White House Fellow. During the Vietnam War, he was shot down by ground fire, seriously injured and was captured while trying to evade and spent 6 1/2 years as a POW in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Currently, he is a published poet, in demand speaker, and occupies leadership positions in multiple business and civic organizations.
On June 1, 1954, November 11 was designated as Veterans Day to all who served, past, present and future. Seventy-seven years ago on August 13, 1937, a group of men in Rockford known as the Ex-Servicemen’s Organization founded the Veterans Day Banquet hosting the first dinner on Armistice Day, November 11, 1938 at the Bethesda Covenant Church. The keynote speaker was Charles G. Seidel. In 1939 a second Armistice Day Banquet was held at First Lutheran Church, with Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, President of Wheaton College as keynote speaker.
In 1939, the organizations name was changed from “Post of Ex-Service Men” to a “Post of War Service Men.” In 1944 Daniel Post was accepted into the American Legion and became Post #864. The American Legion Daniel Post #864 sponsored the banquet until 1998 when the Winnebago County Veterans Association took the responsibility to preserve continuity of the banquets honoring all veterans. The banquet has been held each year to honor veterans who served in the military of our country.
Social hour and cocktails will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7. The Veterans Dinner Program will follow dinner. As part of this year’s celebration we will be offering a Limited Edition Collector Pin at the dinner for $5. This year there will be offering a choice of three meals, turkey, fish or vegetarian. Please make your selection at the time of ticket purchase. Tickets are available at a cost of $250 per table of 8 or $35 each. To purchase tickets contact Scott Lewandowski at 815-969-1999.