ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Nearly 30 Soldiers assigned to Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, participated in 20 Veterans Day events in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, Nov. 9-11.
Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, also participated in the Quad City Mallards Military Appreciation Night, Nov. 11, where he administered the oath of enlistment to 12 Army recruits from the area during the first intermission of the hockey game.
RIA also provided a joint color guard including service members from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to present the colors prior to the start of the game. Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, commanding general, First Army, participated in the ceremonial puck drop.
-Rotary Club of Walnut, Walnut, Illinois-
George Eaton, command historian, ASC, spoke to approximately 50 veterans and Rotarians during a Veterans Day event in Walnut, Illinois, Nov. 9. The discussion included Veterans Day themes and a historical presentation about the RIA Confederate Cemetery.
Command Sgt. Maj. Myris Dixon, U.S. Army Garrison-Rock Island Arsenal, served as the keynote speaker at the Rockridge Junior High Veterans Day event in Taylor Ridge, Illinois, Nov. 10.
Dixon talked about the history of Veterans Day and why honoring veterans makes America a great nation.
"Veterans have kept faith, they have kept us free and they have enabled America to keep faith with the rest of the world," she said. "All Americans are charged with the responsibility to ensure [veterans'] service and sacrifices are not forgotten, but continuously echo in our respective communities across the nation and around the world."
Also at the event, Col. Grant Morris, chief, G-3/5/7 (Operations), ASC, presented Korean War veteran Master Sgt. (Ret.) Joe Whitley, 86, with the Purple Heart. Whitley received his medal in the mail and it was never formally presented to him.
"I've waited 65 years for this," said Whitley. "I greatly, greatly appreciate that this has been finally presented in the proper manner."
Rockridge Junior High hosts a Veterans Day event every three years so students can be involved at least once during their junior high careers. The school serves students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. The students primarily organized the event.
-Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Moline, Illinois-
A group of nine Soldiers from RIA participated in a Veterans Day assembly at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Moline, Illinois, Nov. 10.
The Soldiers joined students in saying the Pledge of Allegiance; introduced themselves and briefly summarized their military careers and duties; read statements on the history of Veterans Day, and on deployment and military family life; and answered a few questions from students.
The assembly concluded with a flag folding demonstration. As the students exited the assembly, they exchanged handshakes and high fives with the Soldiers.
Those participating in the assembly were col. Kenneth Tauke, commander of U.S. Army Garrison-RIA' and Maj. Brandon Hill, Capt. Michael Rear, 1st Sgt. Efren Delpilar, Master Sgt. Charlene Davis, Sgt. 1st Class Joycelyn Clinton, Sgt. 1st Class Chrystal Yazzie, Staff Sgt. Camille Richardson and Staff Sgt. Anthony Toomer of ASC.
-Galva High School, Galva, Illinois-
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel Swanson, state representative elect, Illinois 74th District, spoke at the Galva Junior/Senior High School Veterans Day assembly at Galva High School in Galva, Illinois, Nov. 10. Swanson is a retiree of ASC.
The fifth and sixth graders sang 'My Country Tis of Thee' and 'God Bless America' to a crowd of about 100 students, staff, community members and veterans.
Other Soldiers who participated in the ceremony were Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.) Jerry Becker, principal, Galva High School, and Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Daniel Blackburn, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor, Pekin Community High School and former ASC Soldier.
The school's JROTC honor guard performed a POW/MIA ceremony and the high school band played the Armed Services Medley. The assembly concluded with Jaymi Gibbs, ninth grade, playing Taps.
-All Saints Catholic School, Davenport, Iowa-
At All Saints Catholic School in Davenport, seven Soldiers from RIA spoke to students in their classrooms and were given a tour of the school, Nov. 10.
The Soldiers came from ASC, First Army and USAG-RIA. Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bryant, ASC's top enlisted Soldier, and his counterpart Command Sgt. Maj. Myris Dixon, USAG-RIA, talked to a class of third-graders and eighth-graders.
While the eighth-graders were pretty quiet in questioning, the third-graders rattled one question after another.
Subject areas included backgrounds of the Soldiers, reasons for joining the Army, high school, sports, participation in wars and living overseas.
"I always wanted to be a Marine growing up," Bryant said, adding that eventually he decided to join the Army.
Regarding sports, Bryant said that while he only weighed about 135 pounds in high school and was too small for football, he did well in basketball.
"I thought I was going to be the next Michael Jordan," he jokingly said.
Following the visits, the Soldiers and community veterans were given a special lunch for their service.
Afterward, the school presented a Veterans Day ceremony in which 1st Sgt. Joe Wertz, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, First Army, served as the keynote speaker.
-St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School, Davenport, Iowa-
Col. Kenneth Tauke, commander, USAG-RIA, provided keynote remarks at the St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School Veterans Day program in Davenport, Iowa, Nov. 10.
Tauke emphasized what a veteran gives in support of the country, especially when serving abroad or away from family.
The program included two performances by the school's choir, a presentation given by the students about Veterans Day and a special recognition to the veterans in attendance.
The Boy Scout troop presented the colors and after a moment of silence, four students played Taps on their trumpets.
-Northeast Community School District, Goose Lake, Iowa-
1st Sgt. Efren Delpilar, first sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, ASC, delivered keynote remarks during the Northeast School District's Veterans Day program in Goose Lake, Iowa, Nov. 10.
Delpilar said veterans should be honored for their service and their continuing contributions to the nation.
"Right now, all around the country, veterans serve as teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers, community leaders, first responders and even elected officials," he said. "They continue to serve this country, this community, by making positive impacts, building stronger futures and inspiring future generations to come."
There were about 500 students, teachers and veterans in attendance.
Capt. Herman Marshall, plans officer, G-3/5/7, (Operations), ASC, marched with veterans and other community members during the Aledo Veterans Day Parade event in Aledo, Illinois, Nov. 11. Approximately 200 people attended.
Marshall, who served as the keynote speaker, talked about what it means to protect freedom. He said that the freedom of religious expression, freedom of the press and the freedom to associate with others are core to American values. He said these rights would not exist without veterans and their service.
Members of the community thanked Marshall and told him about how active they are with supporting veterans.
"We have the most patriotic people in the world," said Bill Howard, commander, American Legion 14th District. "Whenever we need something, everybody comes together to make it happen, and whenever the community needs something, the service agencies go out and assist them."
Bill Brown, commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1571, welcomed Marshall and gave him a tour of the VFW's lodge. Marshall said he was very impressed with the VFW's involvement with the community.
Col. Donald Wols, commander, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, provided keynote remarks at the Milan American Legion Post 569 Veterans Day event in Milan, Illinois, Nov. 11.
The American Legion provided the 21-gun salute. Approximately 50 community members attended.
Following the ceremony, the Legion conducted a flag-burning ceremony to properly dispose of old, unusable American flags.
Maj. Lanelle Pickett, ASC, spoke at the Galva Veterans Park in Galva, Illinois, Nov. 11. About 100 guests attended.
The Galva American Legion Post 45 hosted the event and fired the 21-gun salute.
Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony M. Bryant, ASC, spoke to approximately 50 veterans and their families at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2153 in Moline, Illinois, Nov. 11.
The Veterans Day event opened with Bryant speaking on the importance of honoring veteran's sacrifices, followed by a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and a luncheon for all in attendance.
"The nation, which forgets its defenders, will itself be forgotten," said Bryant, quoting President Calvin Coolidge.
"While no right-thinking man wants war, preparing for war is the best way to preserve the peace," he continued.
Bryant concluded by thanking veterans for their service.
"Veterans are a direct reflection of what's best about America, they represent America's heart and spirit," he said.
-Hero Street Memorial Park, Silvis, Illinois-
Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general, ASC, provided keynote remarks at a Veterans Day ceremony at Hero Street Memorial Park in Silvis, Illinois, Nov. 11.
Tony DaPalo sang God Bless America and the national anthem. Pastor Roger Perry, First United Methodist Church, provided the invocation.
Mayor Tom Conrad welcomed the speakers as well as the community members who attended. He spoke of the rich tradition and great patriotism of the people of Hero Street and Silvis.
Petty Officer 1st Class (Ret.) Brian Munos, U.S. Navy and one-time resident of Hero Street, also spoke.
Following Munos' remarks, Conrad introduced Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Donald Hilbert. Hilbert is a veteran of the Vietnam War and belongs to the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration Committee. His charge is to travel the U.S. and recognize the men, women and their family members who served in the Vietnam War era.
After a few words about the program and the importance of recognizing our Vietnam Veterans, Hilbert recognized nearly 15 veterans at Hero Street with a special lapel pin reserved only for Vietnam Veterans.
Following all remarks, Conrad and Daly positioned a wreath from the base of the podium in front of eight white crosses which symbolize the eight service members who grew up on Hero Street that lost their lives while at war.
The Mexican American Veterans Association provided the 21-gun salute.
-Philanthropic and Educational Organization, Moline, Illinois-
George Eaton, command historian, ASC, gave a presentation about the purpose of Veterans Day to the Philanthropic and Educational Organization Chapter KT Moline at the Deere-Winman House in Moline, Illinois, Nov. 11.
-Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois-
Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, commanding general, ASC, provided keynote remarks at the Rock Island National Cemetery Veterans Day ceremony at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, Nov. 11.
Sue Nan Jehlen, cemetery director, provided welcome remarks. Reverend Scott Culley, Faith Walk World Outreach Center, Silvis, Illinois, provided the invocation and Sgt. 1st Class Cornelius Goodwin, ASC, sang the national anthem.
Congressman Dave Loebsack, Iowa; Kate Jennings-Gerber for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Illinois; Mayor John Thodos, East Moline; and Mayor Dennis Pauley, Rock Island, were also in attendance.
Following all remarks, Jehlen, Daly and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bryant, ASC, positioned a wreath at the base of the cemetery flagpole and saluted as John Adams of the Davenport American Legion Post 26 and World War II veteran bugled Taps.
The 21-gun salute was performed by the Korean War Veterans Chapter 168.
-Tri-City Jewish Center, Rock Island, Illinois-
Capt. John A. Pons Jr., ASC, provided keynote remarks to members of the Tri-City Jewish Center during a Veterans Day event in Rock Island, Illinois, Nov. 11.
The congregation read Scripture and honored their service members and families. About 60 guests attended.
Military leaders from First Army and Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island Arsenal, also spoke at events in East Moline, Illinois; Orion, Illinois; Silvis, Illinois; Bettendorf, Iowa; and Davenport, Iowa.