Thursday is Veterans Day, and people of all ages will honor those who have served our country in the military. One of the biggest Veterans Day events in the QCA is the Davenport Veterans Day Parade. This year’s parade will wind through downtown Davenport beginning at 10:00 a.m. and end with a ceremony in front of the Scott County Courthouse.
Other Veterans Day events include a free luncheon for veterans and their families at Legion Post 26 in Davenport. The Rock Island National Cemetery will have a Veterans Day event at 1:00 p.m. on Arsenal Island, and Bettendorf has a ceremony at 2:00 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.
Local 4 is honoring those who serve all month by giving a voice to veterans across the country. A group of veterans from the Peoria area are connecting with school children and each other. Every Thursday morning, a group of veterans gathers at Tremont Grade School to give fist bumps to students as they come to school.
The veterans get as much out of it as the kids. Vietnam veteran Rick Otey said soldiers didn’t get a “welcome home” when they returned home from the war. “It was pretty brutal. We got spit at, spit on, yelled at, called ‘baby killers;’ different names and stuff,” Otey said. “So this here is 180° out, those fist bumps and filling that void.”
The veterans go out to breakfast and have a special fallen soldier ceremony. “We leave a chair empty at the end of our table, set the place for it, then just before our food comes, we all raise our coffee cups to the fallen,” Otey said. “It’s been good for guys who didn’t know each other to become a part of each other. We call it our ‘band of brothers.'”
You can see more stories like this in our Veterans’ Voices: Honoring Those Who Serve special Thursday on Local 4 at 6:30 p.m. and in out Veterans Voices section at OurQuadCities.com.