ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Joint Munitions Command’s Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Gavin Gardner, spoke at the Milan American Legion, Milan, Illinois, on Nov. 11 to honor Quad Cities’ Veterans and their families for their military service. This event recognized the sacrifices of Veterans who have answered the call to defend American ideals.
The tradition of Veterans Day traces back to World War I. Armistice Day began as a remembrance of all American service members who died, and it celebrated the armistice agreement signed on Nov. 11, 1918, in France, which ended hostilities on the Western Front. The very first Armistice Day was observed in a solemn fashion with performances by military bands in cities and military posts across the United States. After World War II, the day was renamed Veterans Day and signifies that Veterans of our Nation’s wars, including the most recent - WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan – all share the same sacrifice.
Gardner spoke on the importance of remembering the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. This year marks the centennial commemoration of the tomb dedicated by the Army on Nov. 11, 1921, when the first unidentified Soldier was brought to Arlington for burial.
Gardner commended the Legion’s efforts to support Veterans not just with Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations, but pointed out the additional outreach dinners, blood drives, blanket drives, and other activities it holds throughout the entire year. He also thanked the Legion’s Honor Guard, which participates in funerals, parades, and flag-raising events to commemorate local Veterans.
Gardner recognized that our military must always be ready to fight and win our nation’s wars as part of the joint force, saying, “It’s how we keep faith with those Veterans who have already given so much. One way we do that is to ensure our force is trained, manned and equipped to meet the global security challenges that threaten our National Security. While no one wants war, a ready and resilient force is the best chance for peace. As we move into a challenging, but bright future which awaits us -- our Veterans will lead the way."