Memorial Day takes on a special meaning this year in Northern Nevada with many events planned for Fernley and Fallon as well as fundraisers for Honor Flight Nevada.
From activities culminating a statewide Operation Battle Born ruck march to honor Nevada’s fallen heroes since Sept. 11, 2001, to weekend fundraisers to support Honor Flight Nevada, the plethora of events will have a special meaning for area residents.
The Truckee Meadows Veterans Club of TMCC and the UNLV Rebel Veterans partnered for a 370-mile ruck march from Las Vegas to Fernley to honor fallen heroes from the Global War on Terrorism.
Since the volunteers left Las Vegas, they have traveled past Tonopah and will arrive in Fernley sometime Saturday afternoon. During the ruck march’s eight days of primarily walking along U.S. Highway 95 — also known as the Veterans Memorial Highway —volunteers and veterans are taking turns carrying two rucksacks that contain almost 6,987 service members’ dog tags including 57 from Nevadans who have died as a result of the GWOT.
According to the group’s website, “Participants will be asked to challenge themselves physically and mentally, facing the heat and the weight of fallen heroes on their backs. Help us as we march for those who fought and sacrificed for our freedom. Just as they never wavered in their service to our country, we cannot waiver in our recognition of their service.”
John Yuspa, executive director of Honor Flight Nevada, said donations made in honor of the ruck march will benefit the Honor Flight program that gives veterans an opportunity to see the nation’s monuments and memorials built in their honor in Washington, D.C.
Yuspa said the veterans will march in as a group with the ruck sack of dog tags into the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery sometime during the solemn ceremony to remember the nation’s veterans.
“They will honor the fallen and the servicemen and women who came before them,” Yuspa said.
This year’s Memorial Day ceremony begins at 11 a.m. This year’s keynote speakers are Brig. Gen. William R. Burks, Adjutant General for the Nevada National Guard and Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, United States Coast Guard.
Master of Ceremonies will be the Nevada Department of Veterans Services Deputy Director, Fred Wagar. This year’s one-hour ceremony, which normally attracts a crowd of about 3,000 people, also includes performances by the Maytan Band conducted by Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alan Pefley, U.S. Army.
In addition to the speakers, a U.S. Coast Guard air crew will be in attendance along with search and rescue helicopters. The event is sponsored by the Nevada Veterans’ Coalition and hosted by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.
In addition to the ceremony at the NNVMC, three services to honor veterans will occur in Fallon beginning with the Churchill County Cemetery at 11 a.m. Representatives from Churchill County’s military service groups will offer words honoring the veterans and then place flowers at the foot of a veterans’ monument at the cemetery before conducting a similar ceremony at the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe’s cemetery at noon. The final service begins at 1 p.m. at The Gardens veterans’ section, which is protected by a row of U.S. flags.
Every year, both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in Fallon ask for volunteers to plant flags by the gravesites at the county cemetery beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Removal of glass begins at 5 p.m. on Monday. Volunteers are encouraged to show up at those times.
Honor Flight Nevada has two events this weekend.
The annual charity golf tournament and dinner is slated for Sunday at The Club at ArrowCreek. Yuspa said registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon The dinner-dance wraps up the day’s activities at 6 p.m.
The cost is $225 per golfer or $150 for a veteran golfer and includes range balls, carts, lunch, dinner and dance tickets.
From 7-11 a.m. on Monday at the Atlantis Casino and Resort, the annual pancake breakfast honors veterans and helps raise funds for Honor Fight Nevada flights to Washington, D.C. To purchase tickets in advance go to HonorFlightNV.org or tickets may be purchased on the day of the event.
For information on either the golf tournament of breakfast, call 775-323-9955 or go to info@HonorFlightNV.org.