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Go and Do: Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice

Volunteers needed to place flags at Rosebud Cemetery for Memorial Day

American Legion Post 83 Commander Jerald Olp, right, and fellow legion member Jeff Spink sort through the American flags to be placed at Rosebud Cemetery on Friday afternoon prior to Memorial Day weekend.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Every year on the Friday before Memorial Day, community members gather to honor the veterans who have been laid to rest at Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs by placing flags at their graves, a tradition that has been led by American Legion Post 83 for over 40 years.

The legion is looking for volunteers to help place over 650 flags around the cemetery this year.

Those looking to help volunteer place flags at gravesites of veterans at Rosebud Cemetery can show up at 3420 Grand Ave. Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. Friday.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

“I know several people that are veterans that are buried out there, and I make sure their graves get a flag,” Glenwood Rotary Club member Greg Keller said. “There are a few special friends out there.”



Keller has been helping the American Legion organize and place flags for the last 15 years and looks forward to the community gathering and camaraderie every year.

“There is always a spattering of residents from town who have no ties to anything other than they want to help out and honor the veterans,” Keller said.



Though this year the familiar face of Air Force veteran Dan LeVan will be missing, the placing of the flags to honor the fallen will be no different. LeVan moved to Arizona last year after leading the Memorial Day services in Glenwood Springs for many years.

American Legion Post 83 member and United States Army veteran Jeff Spink helps commander Jerold Olp load over 600 flags in the back of the car before taking them over to Rosebud Cemetery for Memorial Day weekend.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Keller said placing flags should take 60-90 minutes depending on the number of volunteers that arrive. Groups of five or six will be given a handful of flags, a cemetery plot grid and list of names to determine which graves belong to veterans.

Those interested in volunteering can show up at Rosebud Cemetery (3420 Grand Ave.) on Friday beginning at 4 p.m. to help place flags on gravesites.

Memorial Day Ceremony

With the departure of Dan LeVan and the dwindling number of members of the American Legion Post 83, the nonprofit organization Memorial Days Riders were officially handed the reins to run the ceremony at the conclusion of last year’s service at Rosebud.

Joaquin Garcia, the founder of Memorial Day Riders, started an annual ride eight years ago by gathering a group of 16 fellow riders and leading them to the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center in Rifle to sit and have lunch with the veterans residing there.

American Legion Post 83 Commander Jerold Olp sorts through over 600 American flags before taking them over the Rosebud Cemetery for Memorial Day weekend.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

“Most importantly, the ride was in memory of the fallen,” Garcia said. “That’s why I called it the Memorial Day Ride.”

This year, Garcia is expecting to bring over 300 riders who will gather and make their way to Rosebud Cemetery for the ceremony before heading out on a ride through Glenwood Canyon before the final stop in Rifle.

“Mr. Dan always called us his rolling thunder,” Garcia said about the large group of mostly Harley Davidson motorcycles.

This year’s ceremony at Rosebud Cemetery should look similar to year’s past and will begin promptly at 11 a.m.

“As an immigrant, I am grateful to live here in this nation and to do something to recognize those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country,” Garcia said.

IF YOU GO:

Flag placing

Where: Rosebud Cemetery, 3420 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs

When: Friday, May 27 4 p.m.

Memorial Day service

Where: Rosebud Cemetery, 3420 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs

When: Monday, May 30 11 a.m.

Visual Journalist Chelsea Self can be reached at 970-384-9108 or cself@postindependent.com.


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