The Rock Island National Cemetery will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30 at 10:45 a.m.; main parking will be at the Memorial Park parking lot off East Street across from Building 102.

The keynote speaker will be Mike Sturch, commandant, Department of Illinois Marine Corps League, and national vice commandant. The Veterans Service Organization honor guard will be conducted by Moline American Legion 246 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 299.

The Center for Active Seniors Inc.’s Golden Tones Choir will perform musical selections through the ceremony. The National Anthem will be performed by Michelle VanOpdorp, with an invocation by Rev. Rich Hendricks, Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities. Additional speeches, a moment of silence, the playing of Taps, and a rifle volley, will also take place.

This will be the first public Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery since 2019, according to a Tuesday release from Rock Island Arsenal.

American flags at the Rock Island National Cemetery on Arsenal Island.

There will be no parking at the cemetery for this ceremony except for individuals who are wheelchair bound. Parking for all others will be behind Memorial Park in the large lot. Buses will be transporting people from the parking lot to the cemetery and will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visitors should arrive early to ensure enough time to park their vehicles and be transported to the cemetery. Memorial Park is located off of the main Island road, Rodman Avenue at the corner of East Street. For more information, call 309-782-2094.

Memorial Day represents a day of national awareness and reverence, honoring the military men and women who gave their lives in defense of the nation and its values, the release said. Memorial Day honors fallen service members while Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to publicly recognize living military veterans

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War Soldiers and a day to honor the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, commander-in-chief, Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed May 30 as Decoration Day by General Order No. 11.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May. The law took effect in 1971 at the federal level. In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration operates 155 national cemeteries and 34 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 44 states and Puerto Rico. More than 5 million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA cemeteries.