Veterans honored

Ceremony will be held at cemetery

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— Since 1922, veterans of Steamboat Springs have sponsored Memorial Day services to honor local veterans and other men and women who have served their country.

This year is no different. On Monday, members of the Steamboat Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4264 and American Legion Post #44 will hold a ceremony in the Steamboat Springs cemetery to pay tribute to men and women in service.

Last year, more than 200 people attended this ceremony. Jim Stanko, the previous Commander of the American Legion Post #44 and the organizer of this year's service, said he hopes that even more residents will attend the ceremony this Monday.

"I think that just about everybody (last year) came away with a real deep feeling, a good feeling about our heritage, and that freedom isn't really free people had to pay a price for it, and people are still paying a price for it," Stanko said. "That's what Memorial Day is supposed to be about, at least an hour of it."

This year's ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and will last about 30 minutes. To begin, the honor guard will march in to the sound of bagpipes played by Rowan McQuarrie of Hayden. The Rev. Kevin King of the Anchor Way Baptist Church will give a short talk. At the end of the ceremony, there will be the traditional rifle salute and taps.

One addition to this year's ceremony will be a special tribute to local veterans who have passed away during the past 10 years but who are not buried in the Steamboat Cemetery.

Stanko said that attending this ceremony is a good experience for both longtime residents and newcomers. Walking around the cemetery and reading the names of the more than 235 veterans who are buried in the cemetery gives people a new perspective, Stanko said.

"It not only gives them a perspective on the people that left to serve but gives them the historical perspective," Stanko said. "A lot of these veterans not only went and served their country, they came back and became real leaders and served their communities."

For residents who are worried about traffic getting out of the cemetery, Stanko said there will be a police officer to help direct traffic after the ceremony ends.

Later that day, there will be a dinner at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and a $10 per person donation is requested to cover the cost of the dinner.

Observances will begin before the actual Memorial Day when members of the American Legion Auxiliary sell poppies in front of Safeway Friday. This tradition for remembering the sacrifices veterans have made dates back to the 1920s.

Also on Friday, at 5:30 p.m., members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion Post and local Boy Scouts will place flags on the graves of veterans buried at Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

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