VFW and American Legion hosting holiday events
May 28, 2010
• Flags will be placed at veteran headstones at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Craig Cemetery. Residents are welcome to participate.
• A flag raising will take place at 9 a.m. Monday at Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab, 943 W. Eighth Dr. The event is open to the public.
• A Memorial Day remembrance ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Monday at Craig Cemetery. The event is open to the public.
Mel Shockley, American Legion Post 62 commander, said there was a time when people "lost track" of veterans' significance.
"Since Vietnam, that word became so unpopular," he said. "People kind of put veterans on the back burner … but since then, that has changed. The people want to honor veterans. They go out of their way to honor veterans."
Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 will lead residents in honoring Moffat County veterans during Memorial Day weekend.
The American Legion and VFW will start annual services Sunday night by placing American flags at the headstones of Moffat County veterans at Craig Cemetery.
Shockley said about 758 headstones will be decorated with flags with the help of Cub Scout Pack 166.
Cub Scout Co-Master Randy Looper said about 50 Cub Scouts and family members will attend to help place the flags.
American flags will also be placed along cemetery roads leading to the entrance.
On Monday, services will begin with a flag ceremony at 9 a.m. at Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehab, 943 W. Eighth Dr. At 11 a.m., members of the American Legion and VFW will gather at Craig Cemetery for the main Memorial Day service.
After a greeting and presentation of the flag, members will read the names of all Moffat County veterans who have died.
About 775 names will be read, said Shockley, who will be one of the veterans reading names.
"It's an honor for me to represent those fallen men and those who have passed away," he said. "To recite their names, to remind everyone of the sacrifice they made. There is no greater honor than to fight for your country."
After all the veteran names have been read, the service will conclude with a 21-gun salute.
There will be no service held at Maybell Cemetery this year, a change from years past.
Shockley said Memorial Day services are a "fantastic" way for the area's veterans to be remembered.
But, the ceremony alone isn't proper recognition for veterans, Shockley said.
"We owe them a whole lot more than just standing there and reading their names," he said. "… We owe them so much, these men who served their country honorably and faithfully and in a lot of cases gave their lives for their country and fellow comrades in arms."
This will be the fourth year VFW commander Mark Wick has participated in Memorial Day services, but the first time that he will be a reader.
Wick said he participates in the event "out of respect and loyalty to our order."
"It's the satisfaction of knowing that we have done the right thing by posting colors, by involving our seniors … and paying respect to our fallen comrades," he said.
Wick hopes the ceremony will encourage younger veterans to be more involved in the American Legion, VFW, and remembering fallen veterans.
"We are just hoping these ceremonies will bring the younger vets out and get (them) involved so when it is our turn to go into the ground, they'll shoot the gun, say the prayer and blow the bugle," Wick said.
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com.