Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, himself a former Naval officer and Vietnam veteran, told an audience of about 200 Monday they must remember that without the sacrifices of veterans, especially those who gave their lives, Americans would not have the freedoms we enjoy.
“I don’t think I need to remind any of you today that Memorial Day is not a celebration,” Crowell said. “Rather it is a day of reflection when we pay tribute to those who have served our country in uniform.”
He pointed out that the country loses World War II veterans daily. He said in Korea, the death rate was three times that of Vietnam and those veterans too are disappearing.
Crowell said despite the country’s best efforts, there still are more than 92,000 veterans missing in action and 129,000 still buried on foreign soil.
Lt. Cdr. David Treinen said for Vietnam veterans such as himself, things have changed dramatically with people now congratulating them and saying “welcome home.” He said that’s far different than when he returned from that war and, along with several others, “were taken out the back of the airplane with the trash” to avoid protesters.
And to those people in other nations around the world constantly criticizing Americans, he said, “Well, we’re free and they’re not. We’re Americans and they’re not.”
Since this year is the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s admission as a state, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War brought a cannon to kick off the ceremonies. David Davis, of the group, discussed the history of Memorial Day when the Grand Army of the Republic was established in May 1868 and issued directives to decorate the graves of those who died in the defense of the nation.
Wally Earhart, who has played Abraham Lincoln in re-enactments for more than 20 years, gave a talk emphasizing Lincoln’s ties to Nevada — including signing the proclamation admitting Nevada as the 36th state. He concluded with a recitation of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln’s most famous speech.
He said the Nevada Constitution became the first message sent cross-country by telegraph, an effort that took more than a day, but was accomplished without a single mistake.
The annual celebration was organized by Lt. Cdr. Robert Bledsaw who acted as master of ceremonies.