ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 168 gathered for an annual ceremony commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the Korean War armistice at the Rock Island National Cemetery, July 27.
Ron Sears, Korean War veteran and president of Chapter 168, said that as Korean War veterans age, the significance of the annual event increases for the veterans' community.
"I think it pulls us together, especially as the years go on," Sears said. "The memories -- maybe even some nightmares -- we all try to put out of our thinking. You can't put them out all the time, and it helps to have community."
Guest speaker Col. Lance Koenig, chief of staff, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, spoke about the importance of remembering Korean War veterans and the fallen.
"At this solemn occasion, I ask you all to remember the terrible price paid in Korea -- the price paid for freedom -- and that you promise to always keep those we honor and remember today in your thoughts and prayers," said Koenig.
Koenig said his grandfather fought during the war as a warrant officer who was given a battlefield commission to lieutenant while serving with the 24th Infantry Regiment.
The Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, resulted in more than 35,000 U.S. casualties, 85 of whom were from the Quad Cities area, according to the National Archives.
Rev. William Schlobohm, Korean War veteran and pastor of Chapter 168, led attendees in opening and closing prayers.
Schlobohm said he left the Army as a sergeant in a heavy field artillery unit. He said he was glad he was healthy enough to attend the event this year.
"I remembered World War II when I was a kid, and when the Korean War came about, I felt that I really needed to be a part of it," said Schlobohm.
Koenig and Sears placed a traditional flower wreath on the Korean War Stone in the cemetery. The Vietnam Veterans Chapter 299 fired a seven-rifle salute and performed taps.