Towns hold Memorial Day commemorations |

Towns hold Memorial Day commemorations

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
John Colson Post IndependentMembers of Cub Scout Troop 221 of New Castle gaze upward as they salute the flag at the Highland Cemetery for Monday's Memorial Day commemoration. Den Leader Dustin Allison, directly behind the scouts, and members of the public look on with pride. Participating scouts included Jared Allison, Carson Matherly, William Roarke, Rohan Gerrald, Drake Harcourt and River Harcourt.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – Roughly 50 people trekked up to the Highland Cemetery north of town at 10 a.m. on Monday, to honor those who have served and died in the U.S. military.

And an hour later, nearly three times that many gathered in the Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs for the same purpose.

The two commemorations involved flag ceremonies and speeches, though the Rosebud event had added flourish in the form of songs, poetry readings and a rendition of taps, the traditional military funeral tune.

At the Highland Cemetery in New Castle, on a mesa at the northern end of the Lakota Canyon Ranch golf subdivision, pedestrians trickled up from Clubhouse Drive while a team of Garfield County Search and Rescue volunteers prepared for a training exercise in the gullies to the west.

Members of Cub Scout Troop 221 saluted the flag, under den leaders Dustin Allison and Vance Hutchinson, both of New Castle.

Following the honoring of the flag, acting New Castle town manager Mike Edgar gave a Memorial Day address.

Edgar, a veteran of the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s, spoke of Memorial Day as both a celebration of the sacrifices by those who died in the nation’s wars, as well as a reminder that war is still part of the country’s everyday reality.

He also praised the cemetery’s unofficial guardian, Vietnam Veteran and American Legion member Mike Miller, who has been a volunteer in charge of upkeep, repairs and installations at Highland since 1982.

For example, working with the local American Legion post, Miller last year oversaw the installation of a memorial to the miners who died from mine explosions around the turn of the 20th century.

A former U.S. Bureau of Land Management employee and a retired Burning Mountains Fire Department firefighter, Miller is credited with innumerable improvements to the Highlands Cemetery.

For instance, he fashioned a large, concrete star that surrounds the base of the flagpole in the center of the cemetery, and cobbled together small flag stands used to mark the graves of veterans on Memorial Day.

“But all that was working with the American Legion,” Miller emphasized.

At the Rosebud Cemetery, Troop 225, made up of both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, lowered and raised the U.S. and Colorado flags prior to the spoken part of the ceremony, with members of the American Legion standing by.

Under the watchful eyes of veteran Scout leader Bill Dodd Scott, seated in a wheelchair, the scouts stood at ease throughout the ceremony.

The service included patriotic songs by Glenwood Springs High School graduate Tyler Rambo and school bus driver Catherine Zimney; a literary recitation, “Did You Stand,” by local native Angela Black; and a memorial address by Dan LeVan of American Legion Post No. 83.

LeVan, whose father led the local legion post before him, spoke of growing up on the western bank of the Roaring Fork River, directly across the river from the Rosebud Cemetery.

He said he picked up his interest in service to his country from his dad, a Korean War veteran, and from his years as a cub scout and then a boy scout learning from Bill Dodd Scott.

The Legion’s chaplain, Minister Jeff Carlson of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, read the invocation and the benediction, and taps was played by another GSHS graduate, Walter Gorra, currently studying music at the University of Colorado.

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