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Memorial Day: a time to gather, remember

Interviews by Amy Hadden Marsh
Photos by Kelley Cox
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day and was first observed in 1868 when the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers in Arlington Cemetery were decorated with flowers.

For over a century, May 30 was a day to honor soldiers who had died in service to our country. In the years following World War I, the Memorial Day tradition of wearing a poppy pinned to one’s lapel took hold around the world. In 1924, the Veterans of Foreign Wars began selling artificial poppies, called Buddy Poppies, to commemorate the nation’s fallen and to support the disabled vets who make them.

But, with the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day became a three-day weekend, heralding the advent of summertime, which some believe has eclipsed the day’s original sentiment.



Glenwood Springs Post Independent contributing writer Amy Hadden Marsh and photographer Kelley Cox took to the streets of Glenwood Springs and New Castle this month to hear what people had to say about a little of both.

They posed three questions about summer and the holiday, and found the Memorial Day spirit alive and well across generations.



Professional half-pipe skier, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Going to ski camp, looking forward to skiing again.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Go to ski camp and go to New Zealand to compete.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Remembering where you came from and the people who have set a path for me to follow, learning from the past.

Youth pastor at New Creation Church, New Castle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Wearing shorts and getting to be outside. Getting to do lots of different activities.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Go to a Rockies game.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. A time to appreciate the freedom that we have and to appreciate the people who have given up so much for us to have that freedom.

Mike Blair, “I can’t tell you how old I am because it would give my wife’s age away and she won’t allow that.”

Retired land-use community planner, Korean War veteran, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. You don’t have to shovel snow, and I can grow my garden.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Visit with all of my grandchildren.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Remembering all my family and all the vets that I served with and knew and I’m really proud of. It also reminds me that it was Decoration Day a long time ago. I had to go as a little kid and help clean up the graveyard and pull weeds, and I didn’t like that.

Bookkeeper, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Tennis.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Play tennis.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Unfortunately, probably not what it’s intended for. It’s usually just a long weekend.

Douglas DeNio, 67

Retired engineer, New Castle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. It’s the transition from spring and everything is up and growing, the activities that take place.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. We have some company coming to visit and we always like to show off Colorado.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. As a child growing up in the Midwest, it was always Poppy Day. The veterans sold poppies and they always had a celebration at a little park pavilion at our little town of Dows, Iowa. I’ll always remember they had a seven-gun salute. And, we still put the flag out on Memorial Day.

Retired electrical engineer, New Castle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. The coolness. I used to live in Arizona and right now it’s over 100 degrees there. And, the grandkids and everything.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. I would like to go to Yellowstone National Park.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. It’s a day we celebrate for the veterans in the armed forces. We honor them and support them.

Owner of Creating Conscious Spaces, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Everything! Everything is best about summer. I mean, the world is an open palate when you’re in Glenwood Springs.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. I’m going to Austin, Texas, to see my youngest grandson graduate from high school.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Gratitude and grace and just remembering every person that went to fight for our country.

Underwriter for an insurance company, Rifle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. You can be outside.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Hang out with family, be outside, enjoy the Colorado weather and all the outdoor activities it provides.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. A time to remember.

Attorney, West Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Golf.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. See my son get married, which he’s going to do in August.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. All the service and sacrifice that people have given over the centuries to our country in the armed services.

Full-time student at Yampah Mountain High School, Carbondale

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. The freedom. You can do whatever you want.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. I want to go and be somewhere that I’ve never been before.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Remembering those that we don’t have around us anymore.

Banking, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Being outside in the warmth, the heat, camping, rock-crawling, motorcycle riding. I’m not a skier, so I love more of the summer stuff.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. We’re going to Wyoming in June to the Sand Dunes with dirt bikes and 4-wheelers.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Remembering all the veterans. I’m a member of the American Legion Auxiliary back in South Dakota where I’m from. My dad is a vet. So is my brother-in-law. My brother’s been in the service. My nieces were in Afghanistan and Iraq. So I remember them. And as a little girl, each Memorial Day the American Legion would put on a program in the school gym and we would carry baskets of flowers, remembering those who have died.

Mail carrier and mom, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. The good weather, the butterflies and birds, everything coming back to life.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. We want to play in the grass a lot and learn to swim.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. A time to remember the ones that we love and that we miss.

Student at North Carolina State, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. The heat. I love the sun and being outside.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. I really want to go to the beach. North Carolina has great beaches.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. I don’t know. It doesn’t really mean anything to me. I know when it is and that’s about it.

Swire Coca-Cola /Lowe’s, Glenwood Springs

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Besides the temperature? I’d have to say the beautiful trees and flowers, especially in downtown Glenwood.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Work around my house and improve the quality of life. The economy is turning around. I just got a second job and I’m excited about getting back in the game.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. It’s the day of remembrance for our fallen comrades, correct? Who have fallen in war? It’s the day to reflect and appreciate what we have here in America from their sacrifices, all the way back to the Revolutionary War.

Server at Chili’s, 2012 Yampah Mountain High School graduate, Carbondale.

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Hiking and rafting and getting to spend time outdoors with people you enjoy being with.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Hike Sopris.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. A time of gathering and being with people. For my Memorial Day, all of my family is going to be in town [from Cincinnati] for graduation.

Sales manager at New Castle Family Fitness, New Castle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Garden, flowers, being outside.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Go to the mountains. I love the mountains.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Remembering your family.

City Market floral department, New Castle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Being outside, riding horses, playing at the river, fishing, hanging out with friends.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Ride a lot of horses.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Getting together with family.

Sales associate at Zoomie’s, 2012 Yampah High School graduate, Aspen

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Less responsibility, less things to do all day, the weather, sun, warm. I hate cold.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Work, save up money.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A day in remembrance of fallen soldiers, people that have fought for the country.

Plays guitar, makes music, full-time Yampah High School student

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Have a job, earn some money, hang out with my friends all day.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. Get better at the guitar, learn new songs, maybe release my tracks.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. Time to spend with my family and friends.

Stay-at-home mom, Rifle

Q. What is the best thing about summer?

A. Getting to be outside.

Q. What one thing would you like to do this summer?

A. I’m going to Hawaii in August. I’ve never seen the ocean.

Q. What does Memorial Day mean to you?

A. To honor the fallen people across the country, family, friends, soldiers, and people we don’t get to see on a daily basis.


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