Sgt. Maj. Fletcher Whittenberg, the G357 Operations Sergeant Major for Army Sustainment Command Headquarters at the Rock Island Arsenal, will be the guest speaker at Geneseo’s 2019 Memorial Day Ceremony.
The ceremony will be Monday, May 27 at the Geneseo City Park. Patriotic music will be performed by members of the Geneseo Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade bands starting at 9:30 a.m. The program will follow at 10 a.m. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Geneseo High School auditorium.
Whittenberg enlisted in the Army in 1990. He has served as rifleman, machine gunner, grenadier, team leader, squad leader, section leader, platoon sergeant, infantry first sergeant, armored first sergeant and calvary operations sergeant major.
During his military career, Whittenberg has been deployed for Operation Desert Shield (Saudi Arabia), Operation Desert Storm (Iraq), two deployments for Operation Joint Guard and Joint Forge (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Inherent Resolve (Kuwait).
He has an associate’s degree in liberal arts and a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. He and his wife, Diane, have four children.
Retired Illinois State Senator Todd Sieben, a U.S. Navy veteran, will serve as master of ceremonies on Memorial Day.
The VFW firing squad and color guard, under the direction of Bob DeBoever, will give the salute, followed by “Taps” and its echo played by Julia Buzard and David Johnson.
The Rev. Laura Kamprath of First Lutheran Church, in Geneseo, will give the invocation and benediction.
Geneseo High School students will give traditional patriotic addresses including: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (given by Audry Lamb), “In Flander’s Field” (given by Ava Terrivo) and “America’s Answer” (given by Ky Ariano).
Music will be provided by a high school ensemble.
Weather permitting, Geneseo’s Memorial Day ceremony will feature the “Aisle of Flags.” Now in its 38th year, Aisle will feature 798 flags representing 815 veterans.
New flags joining the Aisle will represent: Bernard Glynn, Bernard Steiner, Michael Broxterman, Terry Henson, James Hohenboken and Theodore Giebel. Several veterans’ names will be added to existing poles, including: Chuck Hoogerwerf, John Galle and Lynn DeSplinter.
Volunteers are needed to help raise the flags at 7 a.m. in the city park. Coffee and doughnuts for volunteers will be served at the VFW following the flag raising. Volunteers also are needed to help take down the flags at 2:30 p.m.