Memorial Day at Rosebud Cemetery |

Memorial Day at Rosebud Cemetery

Kelley Cox / Post Independent
Staff Photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — More than 100 people on Monday listened to ringing words of praise and warm songs of comfort at the annual Memorial Day commemoration at Rosebud Cemetery, featuring young and old celebrants offering thanks to the nation’s fallen warriors.

From the Call To Assembly by Dan LeVan of American Legion Post 83, to the sounding of “Taps” by trumpeter Norman Gould, the event evoked the traditional blend of patriotic fervor and community pride that was playing out in similar ceremonies all over the U.S.

LeVan noted that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, in which more than 33,000 U.S. military personnel gave their lives.

LeVan also read the names of several local veterans of U.S. wars in general who had died in the past year — Bill Dodds-Scott, Ray Rodda, Loren Anderson and Roy Rakish.

Following the Invocation by Pastor Travis Lowell of the Summit Bound Church, and the laying of wreaths at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Colorado state flag by Mildred Alsdorf and Pat LeVan, came the singing of the national anthem by Bronte Gilman, a senior at Glenwood Springs High School.

LeVan then introduced Angela Black as someone who, “like I am, is a child of one of the longest (participating) individuals who was out here for this ceremony,” a reference to the late Bill Price, for many years a key organizer of the Memorial Day commemoration event.

Angela Black, offering the literary recitation for the event, first reminded everyone in attendance that this celebration was “to let everybody from the past and the present know that somebody cares” about the fate of the nation’s fallen military men and women,

Black read a short essay that she said was written by a long-haul trucker about a moving experience at a truck stop one day, when he saw a uniformed soldier, after buying a piece of candy with a $100 bill, quietly direct the store’s cashier to give the change to a young couple stranded outside with their three kids as they tried to make it to California to start a new life.

After watching the young “soldier with no name” perform this random act of kindness and then disappear, the line of truckers then also donated to the growing pile of cash to help the family on its way.

“It was supper time in New Mexico for a family of five,” Black read, “because a young soldier had cared enough to help … as they always do.”

The guest speaker for the event, Pat Hammon, is a veterans service officer for the Minturn post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), as well as a staff member of the Eagle County Health and Human Services Department.

Hammon spoke glowingly of those who have served in the military over the past 100 years or so, and then sorrowfully about the maimed and wounded who come home from the conflicts with their lives forever changed and sometimes shattered.

She mentioned the high number of suicides in the ranks of military veterans, “which now stands at 22 suicides every day,” and of a need to help these vets find their way out of the nightmares that drive them to extremes.

“How do we honor all of them on Memorial Day?” she asked. “How do we honor them every day? We honor them when we remember the kind of country they fought for,” and then do what we can to make the U.S. live up to the ideals for which soldiers die.

“Some of our leaders have forgotten that wars should be the last resort,” she told her rapt audience, speaking of her own disappointment that our elected leaders seem too willing to send young men and women overseas to die on foreign soil before first trying to find a diplomatic way out of international conflicts.

The event then wound up with longtime local Catherine Zimney’s traditional rendering of the popular memorial song, “Amazing Grace,” followed by the rifle squad’s “Salute to the Dead” and the plaintive sounds of taps from behind a stone structure in the center of the cemetery.

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