Video tribute recorded at Rock Island Arsenal in place of traditional ceremony

(Photo: Thomas Alvarez / National Guard / CC BY 2.0 / License Link)(MGN)
(Photo: Thomas Alvarez / National Guard / CC BY 2.0 / License Link)(MGN)(KWQC)
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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Rock Island, Illinois (KWQC) - UPDATE: First Army stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal released a video message from First Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr. in place of the traditional ceremony held at the Rock Island Cemetery.

"Those that raised their right hand to serve and the spouses who faithfully supported them. From our current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, all the way back to the American Revolution, these patriots put the welfare of the nation, before their own," Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr., said in the message.

Watch that video here:


Officials with the Rock Island Arsenal have announced that Memorial Day observances have been cancelled throughout the Quad Cities. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In place of attended ceremonies, First Army will make available First Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr.’s Memorial Day speech via its Facebook and Twitter pages on May 22," officials said. You can also watch the speech

"James recorded the speech during the week of May 17-23, at the Rock Island National Cemetery," officials said in a release. "James was originally slated to serve as keynote speaker during the Rock Island National Cemetery Memorial Day Observance that would have been held on Monday, May 25.

In the video, James highlights the story of a local World War II Soldier who fought under the First Army flag, first on the beaches of Normandy through the Battle of the Bulge and unto the heart of Germany.

James will also participate in a private wreath-laying ceremony on Memorial Day with cemetery officials. This ceremony is not open to the public in light of social distancing guidelines and public gathering prohibitions."

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