Chapter 299 Members Observe Veterans Day

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 299 member Dennis Johnson concluded a Veterans Day ceremony held at the Rock Island (Ill.) Arsenal National Cemetery on Nov. 11. Fellow VVA member Jim Bell opened the ceremony with the national anthem.

“I cannot think of a better place to be at this moment on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I than here at one of our national cemeteries,” said Col. Stephen Marr, commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Rock Island Arsenal. “It is certainly a privilege to stand before you this afternoon on Veterans Day, a day on which we honor those who have served our nation’s great history across all services.

“It is a day born of bloodshed from the First World War, and a day that has come to represent so much more to generations of the fallen,” he said. “It is also a day we share with many of our closest allies. Those countries have stood shoulder to shoulder with us through some of the darkest moments in history.”

Vietnam veteran Alan Grimme, 68, attended the ceremony with his daughter, Air Force tech Sgt. Erin Grimme, 37, and her husband, Ron Martel, 50, a U.S. Army veteran. “Our service doesn’t stop just because we exit the military. I think we have a duty and honor to all who lay here in the cemetery — to continue to honor them,” Martel told the Rock Island Dispatch-Argus. 

“I think we’d be a much better country if we all remembered [veterans] gave us the right to open our mouths; they gave us the right to protest; they gave us the right to disagree,” he said. “You can’t do that in many other countries, but you can do that here. That’s why it’s important to me.”

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