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Navy Recruits, Legion Celebrate Thanksgiving With Song

Skokie residents were among the Legion members making a memorable Thanksgiving for the young sailors.

The recruits watch a dance performance put on by the Morton Grove Park District's Starbound Dance company, choreographed by Lindsay Skerbek and Lori Andel. Photo: Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com.
The recruits watch a dance performance put on by the Morton Grove Park District's Starbound Dance company, choreographed by Lindsay Skerbek and Lori Andel. Photo: Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com.

Written by Pam DeFiglio, Patch.com


Folk songs, dance music, the Navy hymn and a loud BOO-YA filled Morton Grove's American Legion Memorial Civic Center on Thanksgiving Day, and all before it was time to chow down on a traditional turkey dinner.

Morton Grove American Legion Post 134 was hosting 38 Navy recruits from Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago for Thanksgiving; it's a tradition that has been going on for seven years now.

Legion members and their families, volunteers, well-wishers and local restaurants donated food, desserts and more for the feast, and they also worked to secure long-distance phone lines, donated by AT&T, so the recruits could call anyone they liked. There was also computer access and movies.

Post 134 is one of the largest posts in the area, with 800 members from Skokie, Morton Grove, Niles, Glenview and environs. 

Many of the recruits were far from their families on the holiday. Keaton Todd is from Stockton, Calif.; Devin Scott Lowing from Pensacola, Fla.; David Berry from Baton Rouge, La. and Rony Vasquez from New York, N.Y.

Teen-aged dancers from the Morton Grove Park District's Starbound dance troupe performed for them. The dances were choreographed by Lindsay Skerbek and Lori Andel.

Ray Ariaz, an officer with Post 134, strummed a guitar and sang folk music; two recruits and other friends joined him onstage to play, and many of the sailors sang along. Then they all took to the stage for the Navy Hymn, followed by a round of strong BOO-YA chants.

Then it was time for the sailors to sit down and be served by tireless volunteers. 

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