Hayden Amy and Larry Pederson have been bringing their children to Hayden’s Memorial Day service since they moved to town nine years ago.
Amy said she and Larry, who is the chaplain for American Legion Post No. 89, wanted their children not only to understand the significance of why the day is observed, but to appreciate it.
They placed more than 100 flags on the graves of veterans buried at Hayden Cemetery on Friday night. And on Monday, she brought their 11 children, two of whom had roles in the service, to the 6 p.m. Memorial Day ceremony at the cemetery.
“We just want them to participate as much as they can,” Amy said. “It will mean more to them than reading it in a book.”
The temperature dropped as the sun went down, but the rain stayed away long enough for the annual service hosted by Hayden’s American Legion Post.
About 50 residents gathered at the cemetery for a 30-minute service before heading to
the Benjamin J. Hofstetter American Legion Post No. 89 building on Third Street for dinner.
The ceremony included a memorial prayer read by Ellie Pederson, daughter of Amy and Larry Pederson. American Legion member Ron Staudt performed the wreath-laying ceremony to honor servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives. And Post Commander Seth Huntington read a speech suggested for Memorial Day by the national American Legion that told the story of soldiers who lost their lives defending the U.S.
Carmen Ashbaugh and Dave Marin were among the Hayden residents who attended the service. Ashbaugh said they wanted to support friend Rodney McGowan, a member of the honor guard, but also to pay tribute to family members who served.
Ashbaugh said her father served in the Army, and Marin said his father served in the Air Force in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
“It’s just respectful to honor the military and pay our respects,” Ashbaugh said. “And support our friends here.”
The service concluded with a 21-gun salute and the lowering of the American flag.
Afterward, Huntington, the post commander, said the service allowed the nearly 90-year-old organization and the Hayden community to honor the hometown heroes buried in the cemetery.
“It is a memorial for our fallen comrades,” said Huntington, who served one tour in Iraq with the Marine Corps. “If we do not remember our history, we don’t know where we’ll be going. We have to remember our past. This is the easiest and best way for us to help family members communicate with each other.”
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com