Glenwood honors those who made ultimate sacrifice
Seven-tenths of 1 percent of the American population serves in the nation’s armed services, acknowledged Paul Nunemann, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force. This small fraction of the population is in charge of keeping the liberties of the country intact.
“So how do we properly thank this fragment of the population that has done so much to keep this country, our prosperity and our freedoms intact?” Nunemann asked the crowd Monday at the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs.
Nunemann explained that while veterans from different generations react to gratitude in their own ways — WWII veterans are polite and stoic, knowing they fulfilled their patriotic duty fighting overseas; Korean and Vietnam veterans seems genuinely touched when remembered because they are too often overlooked; and our most recent generation accepts gratitude even though they feel a level of disconnect from other civilians — what is common between them is the insistence that the gratitude belongs to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“The best way to thank them is to honor their fallen, to care for their wounded brothers and sisters and to safeguard their families. Warriors are selfless creatures. They fight as a team and as a family,” Nunemann said. “They look out for one another until their last, dying breaths. Trust me when I say, there is no better way to thank a veteran.”
The ceremony was held by the American Legion Post 83 group in Glenwood and organized by member Dan E. LeVan. He kicked off the event with a call to assembly and introduced the Rev. Jeff Carlson of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church for the invocation.
Mildred Alsdorf and Leray Moreno of the VFW and American Legion auxiliaries laid ceremonial wreaths at the Veteran’s Memorial stone. Boy Scout Troop 225 lowered the flags, and then Glenwood Springs High School student Madison Hagler sang the national anthem.
LeVan then invited Catherine Zimney to lead a patriotic sing-along with the audience. About 100 soft voices sang “God Bless America” while the sun shined brightly down and the wind rattled small flags placed throughout the cemetery.
It was at that point that LeVan introduced guest speaker Nunemann, who gave the Memorial Day address. Nunemann grew up in Basalt and served 26 years in the Air Force as a KC-135 boom operator. He amassed more than 4,000 flight hours and 400 combat mission hours. He is in charge of the Junior Air Force ROTC program at Glenwood Springs High School.
Nunemann concluded his speech by asking the veterans present to stand, and thanking them for serving the country and making the U.S. armed forces the most respected in the world.
The rest of the ceremony included a benediction by Carlson, Zimney returning to lead “Amazing Grace,” the American Legion’s Salute to the Dead and a playing of taps by Norm Gould.
A group of motorcyclists, to whom LeVan referred as “our local rolling thunder,” wrapped up the ceremony with more than 100 bikes riding through the cemetery. This was new to the ceremony, but LeVan said he hopes it becomes a tradition.
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