Fallon, Fernley conduct Memorial Day ceremonies | NevadaAppeal.com

Fallon, Fernley conduct Memorial Day ceremonies

Steve Ranson
LVN Editor Emeritus

Military service organizations conducted Memorial Day ceremonies in both Fallon and Fernley to allow the community to pay their respects to veterans who served their country in war and during peacetime.

Begun 150 years ago after the end of the Civil War, Decoration Day or now Memorial Day first honored veterans who died in the War between the States. In later years, the holiday evolved into recognizing both veterans who died either in combat or passed away after serving in the military.

Churchill County military service organizations conducted their annual remembrance services at the county cemetery, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe's cemetery and The Gardens Funeral Home's veterans' section. Each ceremony followed a specific protocol, but each site presented a unique, yet solemn ambiance.

Representatives of American Legion Post 16 and its auxiliary, Fleet Reserve Association Branch 192, the Marine Corps High Desert and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1002 and its auxiliary offered words of remembrance and encouragement, and a representative from each group either placed flowers or a wreath at the edge of a memorial commemorating the fallen heroes.

At the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, the Nevada Veterans Coalition organized this year's event and program.

The Operation Battle Born march that relied on volunteers and veterans to walk in increments from Boulder City to Fernley carried two rucksacks containing almost 7,000 dog tags, including those of 57 Nevadans, who have died since the United States was plunged into a Global War on Terrorism on Sept. 11, 2001.

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Brig. Gen. William Burks not only received the dog tags on behalf of Gov. Brian Sandoval, but the state's adjutant general of the Nevada National Guard also served as one of the keynote speakers.

"It's important we honor the brave and selfless men and women," Burks said, citing how scenarios have repeated themselves with the nation's wars beginning with the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Burks said the United States is one of the greatest protectors in the world by sending armed forces to stop oppression such as during both world wars and Korea. The adjutant general, a veteran of Desert Storm, said Americans also owe it to themselves to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

During his speech, Burks told the story of First Lt. Frank Salazar, a former Nevada Air National Guardsman with the 192nd Fighter Squadron who flew in Korea but was shot down by enemy fire, Dec. 31, 1952. In April of this year, Arlington National Cemetery conducted a military service for Salazar, and the 152nd Airlift Wing provided a flyover from a C-130.

The next keynote speaker was newly promoted Admiral Nathan A. Moore, the U.S. Coast Guard's deputy commander, Pacific Area. Moore is responsible for all U.S. Coast Guard missions within a geographic region that spans from the Rocky Mountains west to the waters off the Coast of Africa.

Moore shared stories how the Coast Guard conducts its current missions and works with other services during previous wars. He said every generation fights battles that define them from Concord to the present day. He noted more than 52,000 service members are missing in action from every conflict since World War II.

As of today, Moore said the Coast Guard has 42,000 active-duty sailors and 3,200 reservists.

"The Coast Guard stands vigil over the maritime domain," Moore said, referring to the safeguarding of the rivers, coasts and high seas.