The U.S. Army Garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, dedicated a living memorial July 17, honoring the memory of Servicemembers Defense Civilians and Contractor Employees from Illinois and Iowa who have lost their lives as a result of combat operations in Southwest Asia.

On a warm, cloudless summer morning, an overflow crowd came to show their respect.

John Curry, Deputy Garrison Manager for Rock Island Arsenal, said the idea for the memorial was initiated by Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin, Commander of the Army Sustainment Command and Senior Commander of Rock Island Arsenal.

"The goal is to honor all the Iowa and Illinois war dead, from all branches of service, active duty, National Guard, Reserve, government civilians and government contractors who have given their lives in support of the war in Southwest Asia," Curry said. "We wanted the site to be visible, and in a place where it can easily be accessed by family and friends."

The memorial is specifically for those from Illinois and Iowa who served during operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism.

ASC Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen D. Blake delivered heartfelt remarks, tinged with his recent battlefield experience.

He noted the event represented a moment of respect for families, friends, and colleagues who continue to deal with the loss of a loved one, or live day by day while their loved ones serve on the front lines for all of us.

"For all of you who serve so diligently here in support of our fine country," said Blake, "let us together pause and make a small gesture as a community and dedicate this living memorial in support of all who have fallen from Illinois and Iowa and for those who continue to serve."

The memorial is located on the north side of Rock Island Arsenal's Rodman Avenue, across from Memorial Park. The site is outlined by 15 trees, eight emerald green arborvitae, contrasted by seven sun-kissed arborvitae. At the center of the circular memorial is a limestone monument with an engraved message honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for America.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16