ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILL. - Soldiers from Rock Island Arsenal participated in numerous Veterans Day events across western Illinois and eastern Iowa during the holiday weekend. Soldiers represented the Army with speeches, educated youth about the military, and participated in community ceremonies that honored Veterans for their service. November 11 is commemorated each year to recognize the sacrifice of those who currently serve or have served in the U.S. military.

The following are a representation of several events Soldiers participated in, listed by chronological order:

MOLINE, ILLINOIS
MOLINE HIGH SCHOOL VETERANS DAY EVENT

Col. Kenneth Tauke, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, was the keynote speaker at the Moline High School Veterans Day Event on Nov. 9 at Moline High School, home of the Maroons and a student body of approximately 2,400 students.

Tauke spoke about the history of Veterans Day, its importance to the nation, the Midwest where he grew up, and the U.S. Army.

DAVENPORT, IOWA
PALMER COLLEGE CHIROPRACTIC VETERANS DAY RECOGNITION

Col. Arthur Cajigal, command surgeon, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, spoke at the Palmer College Chiropractic Veterans Day Recognition Nov. 10.

Vickie Anne Palmer, great granddaughter of the founder of Palmer College of Chiropractic, hosted the event where approximately 40 people attended. Cajigal talked about the sacrifices of service members have made to secure freedom.

"As a nation, we are blessed with the freedoms our veterans secured and preserved," said Cajigal. "They fought to defend our country and our way of life not only for us, but for future generations of Americans."

The service also included a singing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" by Julie Knaack and remarks by Nick Meier, a Palmer College student who is a veteran of the 34th Army Band, Iowa National Guard.

Meier spoke on recognizing our veterans, "Take a moment any chance you get to look a veteran in the eye, shake their hand, and really thank them for all they've done serving on our behalf. We owe them more than we know."

The speakers were also presented with Veterans Day baskets given by Vickie Anne Palmer.

GOOSE LAKE, IOWA
NORTHEAST COMMUNITY SCHOOL VETERANS DAY ASSEMBLY

More than 450 students and community members gathered for the Goose Lake, Iowa, Veterans Day assembly at the Northeast Community School District Auditorium, Nov. 10.

The keynote speaker was Col. Michael McNeely, ASC's director of Army Prepositioned Stocks, who discussed the importance of recognizing veterans and their families. He also highlighted four individuals who positively influenced and inspired him throughout his career, including one who paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his country.

"The colonel's message was unique in the way it told us about Veterans Day," said junior Amber Friedrichsen.

"Usually we just hear about how many people served, or different battles, but he made it really personal by describing the four comrades of his," Friedrichsen noted.

Others agreed.

"I like how he pointed out some people who did remarkable things and had a positive influence on his life and career," said junior Bryn Hartman who introduced McNeely. "It shows how each veteran has special meaning."

DAVENPORT, IOWA
ANNUAL VETERANS DAY PARADE

Col. Kenneth Tauke, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, and garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Heffernan, command sergeant major, participated in the Davenport's annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 10.

Tauke provided remarks to the community and veterans following the parade.

GALVA, ILLINOIS
GALVA HIGH SCHOOL VETERANS DAY ASSEMBLY

Col. Stacy Townsend, director, Distribution Management Center, ASC, spoke to approximately 550 students in grades K-12, during an assembly at Galva High School in Galva, Illinois, Nov. 10.

The junior/senior school choir sang the national anthem and the Armed Forces Medley in recognition of the veterans in attendance.

Cadet Alexander narrated the Pekin Community High School's Junior ROTC POW/MIA ceremony.

The assembly concluded with a performance of taps by 10th-grade student Jaymi Gibbs.

BETTENDORF, IOWA
RIVERDALE HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL VETERANS DAY COMMEMORATION

Maj. Rebecca Milkowski, executive officer, DMC, ASC, was the keynote speaker at the Riverdale Heights Elementary School Veterans Day Commemoration, Nov. 10. Approximately 650 students and 50 staff members were in attendance at the event.

Milkowski shared her thoughts on the history and meaning of Veterans Day and how she feels as a Soldier serving her country.

"I speak to you today wearing the uniform of a Soldier. As a Soldier, I proudly represent the greatest Army the world has ever known -- an Army devoted to defending the greatest nation on earth, and that stands ready to fight and win any battle," she said.

During the observance, students honored veterans by presenting the U.S. Flag, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing several patriotic songs. Taps were played to conclude the ceremony to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Army Veteran Russ VanWetzinga, who served from 1967 to 1969, was invited to the ceremony by his grandson, Joey VanWetzinga, who attends the school. Approximately 50 veterans were introduced and recognized during the event.

"I am proud of my military service now," VanWetzinga said. However, he noted back in the 1960s, service members weren't given the respect he felt they deserved.

"For years and years, I didn't even admit I was in the military," VanWetzinga said. He feels Veterans Day events like this are important to recognize their service and sacrifice.

ELDRIDGE, IOWA
NORTH SCOTT JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL VETERANS DAY EVENT

Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Heffernan was the keynote speaker at the inaugural North Scott Junior High School Veterans Day event held Nov. 10 in front of the school's student body.

Members of Eldridge American Legion Post 639 provided the color guard for the event.

Heffernan spoke about his career in the U.S. Army and the local community's support and respect for the military.

ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS
FRANCES WILLARD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL VETERANS DAY PROGRAM

Twelve Soldiers from ASC participated in the Frances Willard Elementary Veterans Day program Nov. 10 in Rock Island, Illinois.

The event included an assembly where the winner of the Veterans Day poetry contest was awarded a certificate from Lt. Col. Michelle Agpalza, ASC.

After the assembly, service members and veterans went to various classrooms to talk with students and answer questions.

SAVANNA, ILLINOIS
SAVANNA VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS /AMERICAN LEGION VETERANS DAY CEREMONY

VFW Post 2223 and American Legion Post 148 sponsored the 10:30 a.m. ceremony at the Savanna Museum and Cultural Center.

Keynote speaker was Col. Steve Allen, chief of staff, ASC.

"I'm often asked what can we, as a country, do for them (veterans)?" Allen told attendees. "One way is to ensure that our force is always mission-ready to answer the call of duty -- today, tomorrow, at any time. Your Army needs your support, trust and confidence so that we are ready -- so that we are manned, trained and equipped -- at all times -- to safeguard our nation's security amid increasing and more complex global security threats."

"General Creighton Abrams, the Army's 26th chief of staff, famously said that people aren't 'in the Army, they are the Army.' Our Army is people, and our tanks and helicopters and formations are nothing without the trusted professionals who maneuver them," Allen said. "Our Soldiers represent the best our nation has to offer. They are the heart, the soul and the spirt of the greatest nation on the planet."

After Allen spoke, Savanna's Men of Calvary, sang "Mansions of the Lord" and "With One Dream." They also led the audience of about 100 people in singing the national anthem and "God Bless America."

A rifle salute was held outside on Main Street. Bruce Mottin, senior vice commander, VFW Post 2223, played taps in the center's hallway.

Pastor Barbara Hayden of Calvary Lutheran Church in Sabula, Illinois gave the invocation and benediction.

After the ceremony, a luncheon was held across the street in the VFW building.

EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS
EAST MOLINE VETERANS DAY CEREMONY

Col. Grant Morris, director of operations for ASC, served as keynote speaker at a Veterans Day observance hosted by American Legion Post 227 in East Moline, Illinois.

Morris was introduced by Reggie Freeman, mayor of East Moline. The invocation and benediction were given by Deacon Jim Briggs of St. Anne's Catholic Church in East Moline.

Kyle Jecks, a trumpeter from United Township High School in East Moline, performed the national anthem, taps and "God Bless America" as part of the observance.

In his remarks, Morris said that veterans should be honored "both for what they gave for us -- in many cases, their very lives -- and for what they gave to us -- the opportunity to live in a free nation as a free people.

"Our veterans represent the best that America has to offer, so let us offer them our best in return," Morris said. "It is our privilege to thank you, and it is our responsibility to support you."

The observance was attended by nearly 100 people who filled most of the chairs in the legion's main hall. Following the observance, Morris and his wife, Tina, met with attendees and were guests at a luncheon provided by the post's ladies auxiliary.

SILVIS, ILLINOIS
HERO STREET MEMORIAL PARK VETERANS DAY EVENT

Col. Ricky Kimmel, senior National Guard adviser for ASC, spoke in front of a backdrop of a large American flag hung from the ladder of a fire truck at Hero Street in Silvis.

The street's name pays tribute to eight Mexican-Americans who grew up on Hero Street and who were killed during World War II and the Korean War.

Silvis alderman Larry York, explained the importance of Hero Street. "This landmark has inspired countless people to serve, so it is important on days like today, and every day, that we must tell the stories so their memories never fade," he said.

Kimmel said the stories which inspire people to serve have helped to preserve the American way of life.

"From these streets, tyranny fell and liberty prevailed," he said.

Attendees gathered at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8890, East Moline for a luncheon following the ceremony.

GALVA, ILLINOIS
GALVA VETERANS DAY CEREMONY

Col. Kenneth Tauke, commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, was the keynote speaker Nov. 11 in Veterans Park at Galva, Illinois.

Tauke spoke about the history of Veterans Day, its importance to the nation, the Midwest where he grew up, and the U.S. Army.

Members of the Galva American Legion Hagberg-Hamlin Post 45 provided the color guard, emcee, invocation, benediction, and bugler for taps.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, ILLINOIS
ROCK ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY VETERANS DAY PROGRAM

Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble, commanding general, ASC, and RIA senior commander, spoke to about 100 people at the Rock Island National Cemetery's annual Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11.

"This is a day to recognize our veterans," Gamble said. "In the sense that we shine a spotlight on them, and single them out in order to pay tribute to them and show them the respect that they so richly deserve."

In addition to Maj. Gen. Duane Gamble's speech, the ceremony included remarks by Ellie LaBotte, on behalf of Illinois U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, and an honor salute by Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 299.

BETTENDORF, IOWA
BETTENDORF VETERANS DAY EVENT

Col. Bradley Cook, inspector general, ASC, spoke to an audience assembled in a pavilion adjacent to the Bettendorf Veterans Memorial.

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, spoke about the purpose of Veterans Day.

"It is important to tell the story of service and sacrifice -- of both service members and the loved one's who support them -- as often as we possibly can," Loebsack said. "We must always think about the folks who selflessly serve to defend democracy."

John Wieland, commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars post 9128, said Veterans Day is every day.

"Our freedom will never be free. It is up to us to honor veterans every day," Wieland said.