Many have military memories ...

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Overcome with tears, Vietnam veteran Steve Jazercak, 59, takes a moment to mourn at the grave of a friend's father. The man died in the Tet offensive in Vietnam, said Jazercak just after the Memorial Day Service at Lone Mountain Cemetery on Monday. "I went to Vietnam with 10 of my friends and ended up burying eight of them" - one of whom was his high school friend.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Overcome with tears, Vietnam veteran Steve Jazercak, 59, takes a moment to mourn at the grave of a friend's father. The man died in the Tet offensive in Vietnam, said Jazercak just after the Memorial Day Service at Lone Mountain Cemetery on Monday. "I went to Vietnam with 10 of my friends and ended up burying eight of them" - one of whom was his high school friend.

Whatever the memories seeping into William "Bill" Gilbert's mind, the 75-year-old, who had served two years in the Army, was in battle again.

"I'm very sentimental," he said ,raising a handkerchief to wipe away tears. "I was a veteran during the Korean War."

He pauses then pauses again, seeking composure.

"I just can't talk about it," he said. "I'm sorry."

Gilbert was one of more than 150 people attending the Veterans Day ceremony at Lone Mountain Cemetery. The hourlong event featured the singing of the National Anthem, three speakers from the military and a 21-gun salute.

Gilbert was not the only veteran at the ceremony in tears, and certainly not the only one wearing American flag insignia.

His flags appeared on his T-shirt and baseball cap, but other flags appeared all over - many on headstones.

"I was a lucky man because I'm here today, but there are many who are not," said Paul Webb, 83, who served in the Army during World War II. "I always come out for Memorial Day ceremonies, regardless of where I am. I am a veteran and want to pay tribute to all the veterans."

One woman passed out small American flags in the stands. Other people wore them as pins on their uniforms.

Sgt. Kimberly Bledsaw of the Nevada Air National Guard, one of the three speakers, recounted seeing the flag on her tours of duty.

"I have seen the flag-covered caskets being carried by the brothers who served with (the dead)," she said pausing momentarily at the podium to control tears. "I can feel their pain, their sadness, as tears fall from all of us who are standing tall, saluting those fallen soldiers. ... To all of my brothers and sisters serving in the Armed Forces, I salute you."

Carson Middle School students Cristol Greer, 12, and Virginia Hayes, 13, came to honor Virginia's grandfather, who served in the military and died several years ago from cancer. She doesn't know much about him for sure - which branch he served in or when he served. She doesn't even know his first name.

"We just called him Grandpa Huffman," she said. "I don't ever really think he was comfortable talking about (his time in the service.) We didn't ever talk about it."

But the significance of Memorial Day, which began in the late 1800s to honor fallen Union soldiers, didn't pass over the girls - two of just a few teens present. Nevada has lost 35 soldiers in service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"I think (Memorial Day) is a special day for the country," Virginia said.

"Because (the veterans) died doing what they wanted to do," said Cristol, finishing her friend's sentence.

• Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

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