The Moving Wall arrived a day early in Craig because "there was no room" in Vernal.
What was found upon arrival in Craig was a recently mowed hay field with a bunch of 2-by-4's sticking out of the ground along a preset line.
The driver, Aaron Gray, and his wife, Lisa, wondered if things could be ready for the 11 a.m. scheduled opening Thursday.
Then, at 6:30 a.m. that morning, an "army" arrived, the wall was assembled, signs were placed, light poles and flagpoles arose from the ground and the support facilities were established.
By 11 a.m., the hayfield had become a memorial site and the Moving Wall was welcomed to Craig with the local opening ceremony. The Wall that had arrived early to that field along the river later closed with a bang during the final closing ceremonies Monday.
Just after the final 21 gun salute had fired and the bugler's "Taps" faded, the skies crackled with a heavenly artillery burst of thunder and then, as a faint bugle's echo wafted back, the skies crackled again.
Although us mortals could not produce all the events that we tried to schedule during the Wall's stay - such as the F-16 flyover and live echoes - powers greater than ours orchestrated a finale that those who attended will never forget.
The Wall visit has come to a close and moved on, but just like when the war ended in 1975, there still are more than 1,300 U.S. armed forces men and women who remain behind and who still are unaccounted for. And as the "Missing man" ceremony stressed, we veterans will not rest until they, too, are "Welcomed Home."
At Saturday's official ceremonies, three individuals were honored for their efforts to bring the Wall to Craig and set up the site/events. I want the community to know that if it were not for all of the volunteers, the security detail, the businesses that donated materials, staff and items required, there is no way any three people could have done it alone.
This was a complete community effort and you can feel proud of your efforts to honor the more than 58,000 servicemen and women whose names are inscribed on this replica and the Wall in Washington, D.C.
Craig, this year you have hosted Ride for the Rockies and walked in the Relay for Life. And now you have honored those who died, or are still missing, in a conflict more than 34 years ago.
For some of those names etched in the wall, and/or those vets or family members you stopped to talk with, or just listened to their stories, it may have been the first positive feedback they have ever received.
The Moving Wall is just that, a "moving experience," and for many, perhaps the start of a healing process for things they have tried to forget for all those years.
Thank you, Craig America.
Sen. Ken Salazar meeting with local vets
Sen. Ken Salazar will meet with local vets from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 23 at the Craig VFW Post No. 4265 headquarters.
He is coming to address Northwest Colorado issues for veterans and next pending national legislation. The VFW Post is located at 419 E. Victory Way next to the Craig City Park. All veterans are encouraged to attend and bring their concerns/issues to his attention.
The Craig VA clinic is on schedule and will be open by the end of September deadline, or earlier. When the official news release can be made, I will have it disseminated.
Craig VFW restaurant and bar
Unfortunately the Craig VFW bar and restaurant, formerly operated as the City Park Cafe had to close Aug. 14 after the lunch hour.
The VFW regrets the inconvenience this may cause its loyal customers. The VFW has closed for renovation and deep cleaning/maintenance.
It hopes to reopen shortly with new management/staff and provide the same family style atmosphere. The members of the Post and its Ladies Auxiliary will continue to serve and provide for the bingo sessions, and are honoring all reservations for the use on the banquet hall.
If you have scheduled events with the previous club staff, you need to contact the house committee chair, Ray Talkington, so the Post & Auxiliary members will be available to provide the building and personnel to serve your function.
For information on these programs and/or other veterans' benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot). Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.
Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.