Rock Island Arsenal Soldiers reached out across western Illinois and eastern Iowa during Veterans Day weekend to pay tribute to area veterans.

The Soldiers gave speeches, conducted presentations and participated in ceremonies and memorial services while representing the Arsenal and the Army.

For more photos, please visit the U.S. Army Sustainment Command Flickr page at

Galva, Illinois

Nearly 600 kindergarten through twelfth grade students attended a Veterans Day ceremony in the Galva High School gymnasium, Nov. 10, honoring those who have served in America's Armed Forces. Twenty-five local veterans and their family members also attended.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Hopson, ASC, was the keynote speaker.

Hopson, the U.S. Army Materiel Command Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, spoke about Bennie Adkins, an 80-year old Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor this year at a ceremony in the White House for his actions in Vietnam, March 1966.

Hopson met Adkins while competing for the Army's NCO of the Year title in Fort Lee, Virginia last month. He said it's important to pass down the experiences from previous generations to today's youth.

"This ensures that their sacrifice and service to our country is never forgotten," he said.

The Pekin Community High School JROTC posted and retired the colors.

"It's a really neat experience to be able to meet older veterans and learn of their stories and then to be able to come to a school and pass down those stories and experiences to our younger generation," said Hopson.

Goose Lake, Iowa

A Veterans Day program was held at the Northeast High School auditorium on Nov. 11.

The program began with the advancement of colors by members of American Legion Post 74 from Sabula, Iowa, followed by the pledge of allegiance and national anthem sung by more than five hundred students and community members.

Col. Bradley White, deputy director of Operations, Field Support, ASC, was the guest speaker. He spoke about how proud he is of all branches of the military, while recognizing how it's the service members themselves that make the military so strong.

"Time and again, history has shown that larger numbers and better weapons are not enough to achieve victory on the battlefield," he said. "The individuals fighting the battle must believe in what they are fighting for, must be willing to go above and beyond the limits of their endurance, and must draw strength from those they fight alongside and those who fought, and perhaps fell, in past battles while serving the same nation and the same cause."

The Northeast Choir followed White's speech by performing "Song of the Soldier." After a moment of silence, and a performance of "Taps," the ceremony closed with the retirement of the colors.

Preston, Iowa

The U.S. Army Sustainment Command participated in a Veterans Day ceremony at Easton Valley High School in Preston, Iowa, Nov. 11.

Sgt. Maj. Brian Marone, ASC Distribution Management Center Sergeant Major, was the keynote speaker.

In addition to Sgt. Maj. Marone's remarks, the ceremony included a patriotic reading by Dorothy Carstensen, and several songs performed by the Easton Valley Middle School and High School choirs. The beginning and the end of the ceremony was marked by prayers directed toward veterans. The honor guard was comprised of members of the Preston and Miles American Legions.

Davenport, Iowa

Davenport honored veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces with a parade and recognition ceremony, Nov. 11.

Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bryant, Joint Munitions Command, served as the grand marshal and provided keynote speaker remarks.

The ceremony included a rifle salute, a wreath laying, Taps, an invocation and patriotic music. The parade featured community organizations including a color guard, members of the American Legion Riders and Patriot Guard Riders; the Davenport West High School Marching Band; and Army and Marine Corps ROTC program members from Davenport Central and North High Schools.

Davenport, Iowa

About 25 members of the Center for Active Seniors social club, Jane's Place, shared lunch with Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Wertz, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, and his family to honor Veterans Day in Davenport, Nov. 11.

Following the luncheon, Wertz reflected on his military service and shared experiences spanning over the 15 years of his career.

"I think it is very important that we go out and talk to our aging veterans," said Wertz. "They remember their service, and for many of them, it was a defining moment in their lives."

East Moline, Illinois

About 130 veterans and members of the community, including Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and East Moline mayor, John Thodos, attended the East Moline Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11.

Maj. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, commanding general, ASC, delivered the keynote speech.

"Out of the nation's total population, more than 300 million, about one percent currently serve in our nation's Armed Forces," said O'Connell. "This relatively small portion of our population is tasked with a very big and very important job -- to defend our nation and its freedom against all enemies and threats."

American Legion Post 227 hosted the event.

Galva, Illinois

More than 75 people endured 30-degree temperatures to listen to Sgt. Maj. Douglas Martin, deputy commanding general, Operations Sergeant Major, ASC, speak in Veterans Park, Galva, Illinois, 11 Nov.

Martin spoke of the importance appreciating sacrifices made by military members.

"Approximately two million of the 48 million individuals that have served in our military have received the Purple Heart for making the ultimate sacrifice or being wounded by our enemy," he said. "Just to put that in perspective that would be about 40 times the population in Henry County."

The event was followed by a chili luncheon with veterans and family members at the Galva American Legion Post 45.

Milan, Illinois

More than 100 people gathered outside the Milan American Legion Post 569, in 30-degree weather, Nov. 11, to honor the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

"I stand here today as a Soldier humbled to be in the presence of these veterans," said Col. William Krahling, commander, Distribution Management Center, ASC, and keynote speaker for the event. "Those who served before us left a legacy of sacrifice and service, of unwavering dedication."

Before Krahling's speech, a wreath was laid at the base of the Milan American Legion's memorial to the veterans of the community who served in times of war and peace.

"Today we commemorate Armistice Day," said Brent Wiese, commander of Post 569. "Today we remember our veterans and those who are still sacrificing today in hostile lands."

At the end of the ceremony, post members fired a three-volley salute and played "Taps." Several flags were also retired following the event.

Moline, Illinois

Sgt. Maj. Tonia Littlejohn, sergeant major, Operations and Mission Support, ASC, spoke during the Veterans Day ceremony at the Moline Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2153, Nov. 11. The event was co-sponsored by Moline American Legion Post 246.

Jack Smith, Post 246 commander, introduced Littlejohn to a crowd of about thirty.

The unseasonably cold weather outside forced the bulk of the ceremony indoors. Following the keynote speech, the audience exited the building to render honors to the flag with a three-volley gun salute and the playing of "Taps."

Davenport, Iowa.

St. John the Apostle School held an assembly, themed "Star Spangled Service," to honor veterans and their families on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

The assembly began with students presenting the colors and leading the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. Veterans seated in the front row stood to sing along with an emotional rendition of the national anthem, followed by a brief student presentation of the history of the Star Spangled Banner.

Col. Jim Baker, deputy chief of staff, Intelligence and Security Office, ASC, gave a heartfelt speech explaining the kind of sacrifices veterans of every generation have made, and why it is important to remember those sacrifices.

"Freedom is not free," he said. "There has been an investment of time and treasure spent to ensure your personal freedoms that many people in other lands only dream of. So the next time you see an American veteran -- one of these special American citizens -- stop and tell them 'thank you' for defending our nation."

After Baker's speech, veterans in attendance were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and talk about their experiences serving in the military. They received heavy applause and were soon after surrounded by students offering gifts of thanks.

Thomas Quinlan Jr., a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who served as an Army captain in the Vietnam War, expressed his gratitude for the students of St. Paul the Apostle School.

"This means a whole lot more than me," he said. "These kids are genuine."

Asked what he hopes the future holds for the children surrounding him, he replied, "Remain free."

The assembly closed with a group prayer and the retirement of the colors. Students were then given an opportunity to take pictures with attending veterans before returning to class.

Bettendorf, Iowa

Bettendorf veterans and community members gathered at Veterans Memorial, Nov. 11, to honor those who have served in the U.S. military.

JMC chief of staff, Col. David Banian, provided the keynote speech.

During the ceremony, Banian and Bettendorf mayor, Robert Gallagher Jr., placed a wreath at the memorial which recognizes the duty and sacrifice of those who have served in defense of the nation. Names of Bettendorf veterans are engraved on the memorial.