By Kevin Fleming, ASC Public AffairsMay 30, 2017
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Soldiers from the Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, participated in 21 Memorial Day events May 27 - 29 in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.
Supporting commands included the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, the First U.S. Army, the Joint Munitions Command, and the Rock Island Arsenal Garrison.
Below are summaries of most of the events in alphabetical order by city.
- Blue Grass, Iowa -
Col. Grant Morris, director of operations, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, served as the guest speaker for the American Legion Post 711's Memorial Day service Monday at Blue Grass Cemetery.
Fifth-grade students from a local elementary school read "What the Flag Means to Me" essays, which discussed the importance of respecting what the American Flag symbolizes and honoring the sacrifices our service-members have made to preserve freedom, liberty and democracy.
Gary Berndt, post commander, American Legion Post 711, said, "I believe the future is in good hands."
The service was followed by a luncheon at American Legion Post 711.
- City of Silvis, Hero Street Monument --
The City of Silvis hosted their Memorial Day Ceremony Saturday at the Hero Street Monument in Illinois.
Guest speaker John Nache spoke about the history of Hero Street and its ties to the first men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Keynote speaker, Brig. Gen. Richard Dix, spoke about the importance of Army readiness and the sacrifices of fallen Soldiers shaping today's military.
- Davenport, Iowa, Davenport City Cemetery --
Jason Morin, deputy assistant historian, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, spoke Saturday at The Forgotten Few: A Veteran Remembrance Ceremony at the Davenport City Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa.
- Davenport, Iowa, Scott County Historical Society --
Col. Kenneth Tauke, garrison commander, U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal, served as the keynote speaker for the Scott County Historical Society Memorial Day ceremony Monday at the Summit Church in Davenport, Iowa.
- East Moline Veterans of Foreign Wars -
Lt. Col. Karen Luisi, First Army Surgeons Office, gave remarks to more than 85 people at the Memorial Day ceremony put on Monday by the East Moline Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Luisi spoke to the VFW members and their families following the ceremony. She said she appreciates those who serve every day, and she said those who have fallen in service should never be forgotten.
- Galva, Illinois -
Cpt. James Marshall, Operations Battle Captain, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, served as the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony in Galva, Illinois.
Galva is a small community about 35 miles southeast of the Quad Cities, and it hosts the Memorial Day ceremony each year.
Marshall said he hopes future generations will continue to observe Memorial Day and remember the fallen. Approximately 100 people attended the event.
- Geneseo, Illinois -
Maj. Thomas Anderson from First Army gave the address for his hometown's Memorial Day ceremony held Monday at the Geneseo City Park in Geneseo, Illinois. Anderson is a 1998 graduate of Geneseo High School.
- LeClaire, Iowa, Bridgeview Elementary School -
Brig. Gen. Richard Dix, commanding general, Joint Munitions Command, served as the keynote speaker Monday during a Memorial Day Ceremony held at the Bridgeview Elementary School, LeClaire, Iowa.
The event included music from the Pleasant Valley High School Band.
The event also included a reading by Nessa Hardaway, who wrote an essay about the U.S. Flag.
Attending were Boy Scout Troop 46, Pastor Julie Monnard and LeClaire Mayor Ray Allen. The American Legion Post 347 organized the event.
- Milan, Illinois, American Legion Post 569 -
Sgt. Maj. Dwayne Cook, sergeant major, First Army operations, joined more than 100 attendees Monday at the American Legion Post 569 in Milan, Illinois, for a tribute to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice as part of the 2017 Memorial Day commemorations.
Cook served as the guest speaker at the ceremony, followed by a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
- Moline, Illinois -
First Sgt. Joe Wertz, First Army Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, served as the guest speaker during the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2153 Memorial Day Ceremony Monday in Moline, Illinois.
- Orion Memorial Day Service in Orion, Illinois -
Maj. Lanelle Pickett Jr., headquarters company commandant, U.S. Army Sustainment Command served as the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony in Orion, Illinois.
The small community located south of the Quad Cities hosts the Memorial Day ceremony each year.
Pickett talked about remembering those who died so we can have the freedoms we enjoy today. More than 250 people attended the event.
- Port Byron, Illinois -
Out in Port Byron, Illinois, Lt. Col. Brad Cook, command inspector general, ASC, was the guest speaker at a 10 a.m. ceremony May 29 along the Mississippi River near downtown presented by American Legion Post 421.
The Riverdale High School band played a medley of patriotic songs and the "Ladies Trio" singing group also provided some songs a Capella such as "God Bless America" and the national anthem.
Cook began his remarks reciting the poem "In Flanders Fields" -- a popular writing of an Army officer killed in the Flanders region of Belgium in 1915 during what became known as World War 1. He told the audience that more than 116,000 American military personnel died in that war which also saw millions of casualties worldwide.
Cook went on and gave a history of how Memorial Day evolved first beginning in 1868 following the Civil War, then known as Decoration Day.
But a second world war, and other subsequent wars including today's war on terrorism, continue to claim the lives of American service members, Cook said.
"We have yet to fight the 'War to End All Wars' -- and we have yet to arrive a Memorial Day knowing that all warfare is in our past," Cook said. "No group wants to see that day arrive more than those who have been part of the profession of arms."
Cook concluded his speech with: "So let us face an uncertain future inspired by those who served and sacrificed before us, and always honoring the memories of those who died in battle, by continuing to advance the cause of freedom."
The rifle salute was conducted by American Legions from Port Byron, Cordova and Hillsdale. Taps was played by legionnaire Tony Hughes.
- Preston, Iowa -
Capt. John Fabiani, trial counsel, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, served as the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony Monday in Preston, Iowa.
The community north of the Quad Cities hosts Memorial Day events every year. This year's event was attended by approximately 120 people and included a parade, musical presentations, and the recital of the lives of those lost from the community.
Fabiani spoke about the need to remember the fallen on Memorial Day and the importance of events like those in Preston.
"[W]e must never lose sight of the true meaning of Memorial Day and the cost of war, "he said. "Your presence here is a tribute to our fallen heroes. It is a way to say we remember."
- Reynolds, Illinois -
Capt. Malcolm J. Wilson III, future operations logistics planner, U.S. Army Sustainment Command spoke at the American Legion Post 1166's annual Memorial Day service Monday in Reynolds, Illinois.
Wilson spoke about the sacrifices of service members.
"I know that our audience includes veterans with service in combat," he said. "And I'm sure they agree that those who have been in battle would welcome a world without war, for they know the true nature of warfare and the sacrifices which it demands."
Approximately 40 people attended the event, which included a reading of the poem "In Flanders Fields and America's Answer" authored by former Lt. Col. John McCrae. The event included an honor guard and the playing of taps.
The Legion also recognized three essay winners: 3rd place went to Corey Tegtmeier from Sherrard Junior/Senior High, 2nd place went to Audrey Epperly from Sherrard Junior/Senior High, and 1st place went to Jillian Stone from Rockridge Junior/Senior High. Each winner wrote about what the American Flag meant to him or her.
- Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois -
A Memorial Day Ceremony was held at 10:45 a.m. Monday at the Rock Island National Cemetery where Mike Matson, 7th Ward Alderman for the City of Davenport, served as the keynote speaker.
Matson retired as a sergeant major after 22 years in the Army, which included time as an Army Ranger.
Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos also spoke during the event.
The ceremony included music by the CASI New Horizons Band, introductions by Dave Jones, vice president, Bi-County Memorial Day Association, the presentation of colors by a Quad Cities joint color guard, and the singing of the National Anthem led by the Bettendorf High School Men's Quartet.
Sue Jehlen, director, Rock Island National Cemetery, provided the Memorial Day address, and the Hamilton Elementary School Choir also provided music.
The Davenport American Legion Post 26 gave an honor salute and the Korean War Veterans Association Quad Cities Chapter number 168 provided an echo salute. The national salute was rendered by the Illinois National Guard, Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment.
Bill Hall from Bugles Across America played taps.
- Village of Cambridge, Illinois -
Lt. Col. Rodney Smith from the U.S. Army Sustainment Command spoke to an audience of more than 120 people during a remembrance ceremony Monday at the Cambridge Community Hall in the Village of Cambridge, Illinois.
"Since the American Revolution, nearly 1.2 million service members have made the ultimate sacrifice," said Smith. "It is our sacred duty to ensure they are not lost to history."
The Cambridge Rotary Club sponsored the event. The Cambridge High School band played several songs and taps. The Cambridge post of the American Legion provided a color guard and fired a rifle salute. David Dobbels, vice president of the Rotary Club, served as the master of ceremonies, and Reverend David Joyce gave the invocation and closing prayer.