America’s fallen service members and their surviving families were honored throughout the state on Memorial Day. Some were formal gatherings, others were recreational outings, and still others were quieter family events. However the day was recognized, it was done to show the highest degree of honor and appreciation for those who have paid the last full measure for their country.
Memorial Day is a time of reflection and remembrance of our heroes who answered their nation’s call of duty and went on to serve and sacrifice in harm’s way. Many of our fellow countrymen and women have, over the years, answered this call to duty on the battlefields around the world. Memorial Day celebrations are a time to deliver appropriate tributes and recollect the service of these service members.
The Nevada Office of Veterans Services, together with volunteers and organizations within the veteran community, hosted two events to honor our fallen on this Memorial Day. Both were at our Veterans Memorial Cemeteries in Boulder City and in Fernley, and were attended by hundreds of dignitaries, veterans and other residents.
I was proud to host the event at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery this year. Gov. Brian Sandoval, as he has done every year he has been in office, honored us all with his presence and remarks, as did Sen. Harry Reid. In addition, the audience was led in honors to our flag and nation by members of the Northern Nevada Veterans Coalition, the Fernley High School Band, and other members of the veteran and military community.
This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Ty Cobb from Reno, and he was a perfect choice. Cobb served in the National Security Council and as a special assistant to President Reagan in the 1980s. He went on to serve in the private and non-profit sectors before returning to his native Nevada. More important for this Memorial Day, was Dr. Cobb’s service as a junior officer in the Vietnam War. He spoke of his service and his experience.
Dr. Cobb’s remarks focusing on the Vietnam War were particularly appropriate given the small ceremony that followed the formal Memorial Day ceremony. Over the last year, the Ghost Soldiers, a veterans motorcycle club that has been active at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, unveiled a memorial honoring the Nevadans who served in the Vietnam War as a part of the Department of Defense’s national effort to remember the 50th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam.
Beyond just the Memorial Day ceremonies, we take the great responsibility of honoring our nation’s fallen seriously. I was proud to present the staff of the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Excellence in Appearance Award, which was recently awarded to the staff. It was the first time a state cemetery like ours received this award, and I was very proud to present it in front of such a large audience.
This year’s Memorial Day was an incredible event throughout our state. We were proud to host two excellent events, and we look forward to doing so again next year.
Caleb S. Cage is the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. You can read his blog at http://veterans.nv.gov/blog.