Memorial Day: A time to pause and remember

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Operation Battle Born Northern Nevada marchers are scheduled to rendezvous with veterans from UNLV on Wednesday at Tonopah to exchange two ruck sacks of almost 7,000 dog tags representing military men and who women who died since Sept. 11,2001, as a result of the Global War on Terrorism.

The second annual Operation Battle Born ruck sack march kicked off Friday for its 11-day odyssey to walk, in 10-mile shifts, from Carson City to the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. A team representing the Truckee Meadows Veterans Club at Truckee Meadows Community College, along with other veterans and volunteers from the University of Nevada, UNLV and the community, had a step-off ceremony from the Battle Born Memorial at the Capitol Complex in Carson City to the Sportsman Warehouse before the main group finished the first segment to Johnson Lane and U.S. Highway 395.

Gov. Steve Sisolak addressed the marchers and others in attendance as did Karin Hilgersom, president of TMCC.

The Nevada Veterans Coalition is conducting a Memorial Service at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley on Monday beginning at 11 a.m.

“Come join us and remember those veterans who gave, if not a portion or all of their lives, in the defense of this great country of ours,” said Tom Draughon, a spokesman for NVC.

Draughon said Memorial Day began on May 30, 1868. The day was commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery as it was originally known as Decoration Day. In 1971, Congress declared that this day of recognition will be known as Memorial Day, an American national holiday, and to be observed on the last Monday in May.

The Maytan Band conducted by U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Alan Pefley will play before the ceremony and will also play the national anthem.

Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services will attend the one-hour event. Draughon said this year’s keynote speaker is Army Capt. Kandace Gonzales, a medical evacuation pilot.

“It is a wonderful patriotic experience for both young and old Americans,” Draughon said.

He added more than 3,000 people to attend this year’s ceremony.

Fallon will be conducting three ceremonies on Monday with representatives from the various military service organizations. The representatives from the Veterans of Foreign War Post 1002, American Legion Post 16, Fleet Reserve Association 192 and the Marine Corps each read symbolic pieces of information and then placed a representative item such as a wreath, flowers or a flag at the base of a monument.

The first ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Churchill County Cemetery. At noon, the ceremony moves to the Fallon Paiute Shoshone tribal cemetery off Reservation Road and concludes at 1 p.m. at The Garden’s Funeral Home on the Austin Highway (U.S. Highway 50 east), which has a veterans’ section under the shadow of its Lane of Flags.

Beginning Sunday morning at 8 a.m. volunteers are encouraged to come to the Churchill County Cemetery and help plant more than 1,200 U.S. flags next to the veterans’ gravesites. The flag will be removed from the cemetery Monday afternoon beginning at 5 p.m.

At a previous Memorial Day ceremony, Tribal Chairman Len George said it’s important for tribal members to serve with the armed forces, and he’s pleased the Memorial Day ceremony includes all people and all races.

“It’s important for the Churchill County community to come out and recognize all veterans,” he said. “All vets need to be recognized for their contributions. Each year they (military organizations) do an outstanding job.”


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