The Rock Island National Cemetery held its Veterans Day ceremony Saturday afternoon, with the placement of wreaths on grave sites, an honor guard, and the sounding of “Taps.”

“It’s important to celebrate the service and sacrifices our veterans have made,” said Matt Tomes, the Rock Island National Cemetery director. “They do a lot for the country, and they do a lot of things that go unnoticed, so ceremonies like this is our way to say thank you.”

The Rock Island National Cemetery welcomed members of the community to its annual Veterans Day ceremony. “I want all of the folks who are serving today to remember those that have left the legacy for us,” said Col. Ronnie Anderson, a commander for the United States Army Joint Munitions Command. “And for everybody who enjoys being an American, to just be thankful to the veterans.”

Anderson believes the event serves as a reminder.

“Our freedoms are paid for with the people who are behind those tombstones every day,” Anderson said. “It’s not just here, it’s across the entire country. Freedom isn’t free, and we’re not born into it.”

Tomes says veterans do more than just serve in the military. “Even after they get out of service, a lot of them continue to do work in their community. They work with other veterans,” Tomes said. “It’s important to thank a veteran anytime you get the chance to.”

Anderson appreciates representatives from Iowa and Illinois for helping veterans. “There are 70,000 veterans across Illinois and Iowa,” Anderson said. “The two states have done a fantastic job of welcoming folks home, and providing services and just being a great method and source of support for all of our veterans across the two states.”

For more information about the cemetery, visit here.