Gov. Pat Quinn spent part of Christmas Day having lunch with U.S. service members who weren't able to be with their loved ones.
"These heroes have given us the greatest gift of all in the sacrifices they make for us every day, not the least of which is being apart from family for the holidays," Quinn said.
More than 100 service members from Naval Station Great Lakes attended the lunch in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, which has hosted the event for eight years. Local charities and the Veterans of Foreign Wars supported the event.
Veterans' issues have been one of Quinn's priorities over the years.
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Last week the governor paid a visit to wounded military men and women from Illinois who were getting treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. While there, he delivered cards made by Illinois children. It was a departure from his usual Christmastime trip to visit U.S. service members in Germany. Quinn has said there aren't as many U.S. soldiers there as there once were.
"On Christmas Day -- and every day -- let's keep our service members and veterans in our hearts," he said in a statement.