The Rock Island National Cemetery will participate in the national Wreaths Across America program and conduct a remembrance ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 11 a.m., at the Cemetery’s main flagpole.

This is a special event and vetting will take place at the gate and will not require obtaining a visitor’s pass to access the installation and the cemetery.

The keynote speaker at the event will be Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto Jr., commanding general, First Army (which is headquartered at the Arsenal).

He became the 40th commanding general of First Army on July 8 this year. During his 33 years in the Army, Aguto (now 55) has served at various sites in the U.S., Germany, with assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan during operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Gen. Antonio Aguto, Jr., commanding general of the U.S. First Army.

His most recent previous assignment was commanding general of the Third Infantry Division at Fort Stewart in Georgia, and prior to that serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, United States Army Forces Command. First Army is responsible for mobilizing, training, and deploying all Army National Guard and Army Reserve units across the U.S.

The national nonprofit Wreaths Across America organization is working hard to ensure no veteran from the Quad-City area is forgotten this holiday season, according to a release. Individuals who would like to sponsor a wreath can contact Wreaths Across America at

This program ensures that the more than 1,600 individuals buried at Rock Island National Cemetery, who served to protect our freedoms and country are not, and will never be forgotten.

The cemetery’s remembrance ceremony will include the laying of ceremonial wreaths to honor each of the military services, POWs, and all veterans, past and present. The Department of Veteran Affairs works hand-in-hand with the national nonprofit Wreath Across America organization across the country to assist in the remembrance and recognition of our veteran population during the holiday season.

Each year, the Wreaths Across America program ensures that remembrance wreaths will be placed at the headstones of fallen veterans at nearly 1,000 locations across the country and overseas. What began in 1992 with a trailer load of wreaths, decorated by volunteers and laid at the graves of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, has now become a national organization with over 2,500 participating locations – all focused on the mission to “Remember – Honor – and Teach.”