Carson veterans honor fallen

Megan Hanke, 14, presents the colors during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson.

Megan Hanke, 14, presents the colors during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson.

War veterans and Carson City citizens honored the fallen Monday, holding American flags, amidst a sea of white hair.

Aside from a few toddlers tagging along with their parents, it was rare to see a person under the age of 40 at the ceremonies.

David Piel, historian for the Carson City chapter of the Marine Corps League, said memorial day used to be a commemorative event that gained everyone's attention.

"Where I grew up in New England, the whole town came out for memorial day," Piel, who has been a Carson City resident for 11 years, said. "People met at the town hall and visited the veterans graves on the hillside behind the church. It was a different culture than today. We are losing a lot. Young people don't give a hoot."

Jim Connolly, a Carson resident and Korean War veteran, attends the memorial day service every year. He said he would like to see younger people in the crowd.

"The youth of the nation should show more respect," he said. "There is a decline in the moral values of our society and it is reflected in the youth. People don't have patriotism anymore."

Monday's observance included two ceremonies at the Lone Mountain Cemetery. The first was a noon procession with Nevada Junior ROTC color guard from Carson High School along with a 21-gun salute.

Then, at 1 p.m., there was a service with the Nevada Air National Color Guard, a bagpipe band and a keynote address from Gen. Charles Chinnock of the Nevada Air National Guard.

Robert Delaski, a member of the Marine Corps League and a Korean war veteran, said he appreciated the services but was disappointed by the attendance.

"It is sad because people have other priorities so they don't remember what today is all about," Delaski said. "Most people think of this as another holiday but it is the military dead that gives us our freedoms."

But some said they have faith in the future of Memorial Day.

Tod Jennings, a Persian Gulf veteran, brought his 4-year-old son, Noah, to the ceremony. Jennings said he brings his son, who is a member of the sons of the American Legion, every year.

"It gives him an opportunity to honor those who gave it all," he said. " My son knows the pledge. He knows patriotism. He loves his country."

Jennings said for too many Americans, Memorial Day only means the first day of summer.

"It's not a day to go and clean your garden," he said. "It's a time to remember those who have sacrificed their lives."

Gwen Hadd, one of the ceremony's speakers and chaplain of the Northern Nevada Women's Army Corp, said she believes that Memorial Day has improved since her time in the service.

"Things are a lot better than during Vietnam," she said. "Those were not happy times."

However, many of the veterans said there was better participation than last year because people were influenced by the war in Iraq.

Pete Livermore, a member of the board of supervisors and the Marine Corps League, said Memorial Day must remain a celebration of hope.

"We need to focus on the hopeful prospects of tomorrow rather than the dark days of the past," Livermore said. "We can never repay the debt we owe to these brave men and women but we can strive to honor their vision."

Other ceremonies occurred Monday at the Virginia City, Dayton, Fernley, and Stewart cemeteries.


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