Two weddings and a memorial
September 15, 2002
Nearly a thousand people gathered in front of the Capitol on Wednesday to remember the terrorist attacks on American soil. The weather was perfect, the sky cyan, the trees and grass green as life itself. Some wore red, white and blue while others wore uniforms of green, blue and tan.
The several rows of metal chairs were lined up like soldiers as people waited in the warm sun for the ceremony to begin.
Joe Hart of News Channel 2 announced the ceremony’s beginning as the bells of from the Paul Laxalt Building began to toll at 1 p.m. As the firefighters marched up to the flagpoles to lower the U.S. and Nevada flags, the chimes could be heard faintly in the background. I think they were playing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” but I’m not sure. I remember standing at attention beside the Capitol steps, tearing up as I watched the flags lower and then turning toward the McQueen High School Band as they struck up the National Anthem.
Three holy people spoke, representing the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.
Rabbi Myra Soifer told the story of a little boy who managed to quickly repair a map torn up by his teacher as a lesson.
“Where there were only pieces of the map, the boy now offered it up as intact and the teacher asked him how he managed to put the map together so quickly,” she related. “The boy answered that there was a picture of a person on the back of the map. I repaired that one person and the rest of the world was healed.”
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Linda Miller, who works at the state Department of Motor Vehicles, said the people she works with began decorating the building a week in advance of the Sept. 11 anniversary.
On Wednesday, Linda said workers from the title production/research department dressed in costume.
“We had an Uncle Sam, Statue of Liberty, Paul Revere, and a Liberty Bell,” she wrote. I got a group picture of them. Unfortunately it wasn’t until later in the day that I saw a Betsy Ross.”
When Mary Ellis “Mel” Borglum Vhay died on Wednesday, we lost an important link to the past. Mel’s father was Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who designed and oversaw the carving of Mount Rushmore.
She was born in 1916 in Atlanta, Ga., where her father was working on a grand sculpture of Robert E. Lee at Stone Mountain. After a falling out with the southerners in 1925, Gutzon took his family on the road for two years before he began work on the now famous sculpture of Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Lincoln.
As a teenager she helped her father with what would become his life’s work and her brother Lincoln finished the massive art work after their father’s death in 1941.
Mel married David Vhay of Santa Barbara and moved to Reno, where they met the Hollisters and were founding members of the fabled Sapsuckers hunting parties.
Mel lived very near my wife Jenn’s aunt Jean Marshal in Reno. Her son is David “Tink” Vhay, an architect and the owner of the Deer Run Ranch Bed & Breakfast in Washoe Valley. She was 86.
Services for Mel are 10 a.m. Monday at the Carmelite Monastery, 1950 Lafond Drive in Reno. Donations may be made to Carmel of Reno or Planned Parenthood.
In happier news, Aaron Blanchard married his high school sweetheart, Sarah Beth Walker last weekend at the family home in Genoa.
I remember when Aaron and Sarah were dating 10 years ago. She drove a yellow Volkswagen and gave Aaron a dog named Rollie. Rollie was a sweet Lab mix Jennifer and I shared with Aaron, because she would squeeze through our cat door when she got lonely.
At least 100 people crowded into the Blanchard’s back yard to watch the couple marry. They plan to continue going to college in Oregon.
Former Appeal business writer Jim Scripps tied the knot last night, marrying his love of many years, Rachel Bridges.
The couple was wed in the First United Methodist Church in Reno. Jim is presently editor of the Sierra Sun in Truckee.
I got a chuckle out of the item in Friday’s paper about Barbara Scott suing Democratic candidate for governor Joe Neal because he allegedly called her a “bimbo” in an Aug. 24 news story. As it turns out, Sen. Neal didn’t call Scott a bimbo in the story written by Regina Purcell that appeared in The Record-Courier. The text of the story appears on the R-C’s Web page and it appears Scott is referring to herself as a “bimbo.” Neal just says he read that she was a topless dancer. Scott is suing Neal for $40,000 in damages, saying she was affected mentally. There is no word whether Scott, who received 21 percent of the vote is planning on suing None of These Candidates, which defeated her by 3 percent.
Kurt Hildebrand is former managing editor of the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at Kurt@tahoe.com or phone 882-2111, ext. 402.