Young and old join forces to remember the fallen at Glenwood Memorial Day ceremony
High school student Maria Carlson had big shoes to fill playing taps for the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Rosebud Cemetery in Glenwood Springs Monday.
For many years, that honor was given to longtime Glenwood resident Norman Gould, who died this past December at the age of 81.
Gould was one of two people paid special remembrance by organizer and American Legion member Dan LeVan for their past contributions. The other was Lyle Beattie, who also died this past year and had been a guest speaker at the Memorial Day ceremony on two occasions, LeVan noted.
“It was a great honor that they asked me to play taps, because it’s something so special and so important to so many people on this day,” Carlson said following Monday’s ceremonial honors.
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“It’s a day of remembrance and honor for those who gave their lives and who still serve,” she said. “It was great to be here, and maybe I’ll be asked back next year.”
Fellow Glenwood Springs High School student and Air Force Jr. ROTC member Mason Pardo was part of the rifle corps that gave the 21-gun salute to the fallen.
“To me, it means we take our time to give what we can back to the soldiers who have fought and those who have fallen,” Pardo said of what the day meant to him.
“We’re out here giving our best to the community, and trying to make the community better. It’s one of the core values of our unit,” said Pardo, who said he plans to join either the Air Force or Army after he graduates next year and specialize as a technician or medic.
More than 300 people, including community members, the local Boy Scout Troop 225 and members of the Memorial Day Riders attended the Glenwood Springs ceremony.
The Colorado motorcycle group made up of veterans also goes by the name “Rolling Thunder” and didn’t disappoint when it came time to line up in formation and roll out of the cemetery with a roar to conclude the event.
LeVan gave the Memorial Day address, reading a pair of poems by Jamie Burns and C.W. Johnson and thanking the more than 150 people who volunteer Friday to place American flags on the graves of soldiers at the Glenwood cemetery.
He also acknowledged the youth movement that participated, and thanks school teachers, the local Boy Scouts and other organizations for spreading the word about the need for volunteers to pull off the event.
In Carbondale, the American Legion Post 100 also held its annual Memorial Day procession, making stops at the town’s two cemeteries for a 21-gun salute and playing of taps, before concluding at the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Highway 133 at the entrance to Carbondale.
There, the group tossed the ceremonial wreath into the Roaring Fork River and gave a final gun salute.
“It’s a day to remember our fallen brothers and sisters, and pay tribute to the sacrifice they paid for us,” said Chris Potvin, a member of the Carbondale rifle corps.
Another longtime member of the rifle corps, Steve Alberico of Carbondale, said he lost several friends in battle in Vietnam.
“I had two men in my unit who were both killed right next to me,” he said.
Also among those lost during that era was Mike Gonzalez of Glenwood Springs, who Alberico said he remembers every year along with the others.
“Memorial day means an awful lot to me, and I try to go to any of the school activities, and to be part of this event every year,” he said.
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“You have all demonstrated through your grit, perseverance and sheer determination to have weathered the storms that have come your way. And, goodness knows you have weathered the most unusual of storms to get to this very day…” — Yampah Mountain High School commencement speaker Diana Andrews