Community prepares for Memorial Day service

B.J. and Diana Cassady, of Guthrie, Okla., don't know anyone in Craig.

However, that didn't stop them from paying their respects to a fallen veteran Sunday evening at the Craig Cemetery.

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The Cassadys, who were on vacation and passing through town, stopped at the cemetery and laid a floral arrangement on the grave of Gale Stewart Pritchard, a 23-year-old Vietnam veteran. Diana Cassady then sang "Amazing Grace," over the fallen soldier's grave marker.

"We couldn't imagine not celebrating for someone," she said.

"We kind of looked for someone that didn't have any flowers," B.J. said.

The community will have the opportunity this morning to join millions across the country in paying respect to the men and women of the Armed Forces. A remembrance ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the cemetery; a ceremony will also occur at 3 p.m. in Maybell.

Veterans and civilians, young and old, joined together Sunday evening at the cemetery to volunteer their time to place American flags on the graves of local veterans. About 700 flags were available to volunteers.

A strange thing occurred about 4:45 p.m. Sunday, or 15 minutes before the flag placement was scheduled to begin, said Bill Harding, Moffat County Veterans Service Officer and Sunday's coordinator. Volunteers were at the cemetery waiting, he said.

"We had people waiting for a change," he said. "We used to be out here by ourselves, but now we actually have people helping.

"I think the interest is going up and the community support has increased."

Representatives from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Sons of the American Legion organizations will alternate today reading the names of nearly 600 deceased local veterans.

About 540 names were read to the crowd at last year's service. The names of 22 more veterans who passed away in 2006, and 15 who passed away this year, have been added to the list, Harding said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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