ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Auburn High School Junior and Color Guard Command Sergeant Major Erik Larson took part in an annual Rockford event for the first time on Friday.
Larson comes from a long family line of military service and says at 6 years old he felt a special calling.
On Veterans Day, he attended Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum’s annual Veterans Day Celebration, held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, representing the end of World War I.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see those who have went before me and it feels really great to be in this position,” he said. “I love hearing stories [from veterans], I love hearing experiences, and there is a lot of experience to go around out here.”
Rockford alderman and Army National Guardsman Jonathan Logemann was the keynote speaker at Friday’s event. He said it was an honor to celebrate Veterans Day with so many fellow servicemen and women.
“Veterans from Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam… it’s really neat to see the generations of veterans that are here,” he said.
Monique Aduddell, the regent for the Rockford chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), said she was glad to be part of the event.
“This is why DAR exists. Our mission is patriotism, education, and historic preservation,” she said.
Larson said he believes Veterans Day is not about any individual person, but about the sacrifices made.
“People from our generation care. People in general, care. And, there are people who value the sacrifice and service that was committed to our country,” he said.
Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum, located at 211 N Main Street, is open to the public Tuesday through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.