Observances begin today

Local veterans stress Memorial Day education, remembrance


If you go

What: Memorial Day ceremony

When: 11 a.m. Monday

Where: Steamboat Springs Cemetery (shuttle service from the Stock Bridge Transit Center available starting at 10 a.m.)

Call: Jim Stanko at 879-3936 or the Veterans of Foreign Wars at 879-9959 after 4 p.m. for more information

— Local observances of Memorial Day begin at 4:30 p.m. today at Steamboat Springs Cemetery, where the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and their auxiliaries, along with Boy Scouts Troop 194, will place flags on the graves of 264 veterans. An official ceremony at the cemetery is at 11 a.m. Monday.

"We don't do Steamboat time," local veteran Jim Stanko said of Monday's event. "When my watch says 11, we'll get started."

Stanko said the ceremony draws more than 200 people. He also said members of the public are more than welcome to help place flags this afternoon. Also this year, as in years past, members of the American Legion auxiliary will sell red poppies in front of City Market and Safeway. Proceeds from the flower sale are donated to the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home in Rifle.

Official Memorial Day observances in Steamboat Springs have been held annually since 1920.

"We're real proud of the ceremony," Stanko said. "It's grown every year. It's a tradition."

Local VFW commander, Desert Storm veteran and Steamboat Springs High School graduate Tony Weiss said he comes from a long line of veterans and has observed Memorial Day since he was a child.

"It really is an honor to follow the tradition of our servicemen and women," Weiss said. "It's my way of saying thanks to them. It's an honor."

Bob Printy, commander of the local American Legion, said he remembers welcoming World War II veterans home and Memorial Day parades in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y.

"The Memorial Day parade was always the biggest parade of the year," Printy said. "It was a wonderful time."

Printy's youngest brother, a helicopter pilot, died in service. Printy said Memorial Day is a time not only for remembrance, but also for education. Stanko agreed.

"The history of the town and valley is there," said Stanko, noting the graves of local ski legends Buddy Werner and Gordy Wren. "It's a great education. : A lot of people don't understand the military tradition of this town."

Steamboat Spring Transit will provide complimentary shuttle service to Monday's ceremony from the Stock Bridge Transit Center beginning at 10 a.m. The last bus for the cemetery will leave at 10:45 a.m. Call Jim Stanko at 879-3936 or the Veterans of Foreign Wars at 879-9959 after 4 p.m. for more information.


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