Evans makes unscheduled appearance at Arsenal Memorial Day ceremony
Lane Evans braved the intense heat to address the crowd gathered on the Rock Island Arsenal on Memorial Day, marking his first public appearance in a while.
He debated whether Memorial Day’s sweltering heat would be too much for his medical condition.
But as long-time U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Illinois, walked the short distance from his vehicle to the stage at Rock Island National Cemetery on Arsenal Island, he said he thought to himself, “Damn straight.”
“I’m happy to be here,” he told a large crowd gathered on the cemetery lawn, spurring applause.
It was one of Evans’ first public appearances since he announced his Parkinson’s disease had progressed to the point that he won’t run for office again. And his visit came as a surprise to many who attended the annual ceremony.
Evans was not listed on the program as a speaker, but said he felt it was important to attend and show his support for veterans and active military members — and the rest of the community — he has served since 1983.
“I feel really good,” he said. “I’m fighting my condition.”
Standing at the podium, Evans thanked the veterans for their hard work to defend the country, and the parents “who sent your children off to war.”
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” he said.
Afterward, Evans stood near the edge of the stage, as a long line of well-wishers waited for a turn to thank the congressman for his service. One by one, they shook Evans’ hand. Some even saluted him.
Evans seemed emotional talking about the community’s show of support, calling it “very gratifying.”
“These are my people,” he said.
photo from Q.C. Times