Steamboat Springs Organizers of Monday’s Memorial Day service could not have wished for a better morning.
The sky was sunny and clear, and the path around the Steamboat Springs Cemetery was almost completely dry after the weekend’s rain.
As the start of the service neared, a hush fell over the crowd that numbered in the hundreds, and the wind picked up enough to cause flags to billow.
The service continued with respects paid to veterans buried in the cemetery and those in Steamboat and beyond who have served. There also were exhortations made to the general public and future generations not to forget the sacrifices of others.
Members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Boy Scouts of America and the Civil Air Patrol all participated in the service.
Three members of the Civil Air Patrol executed a drill rifle performance during the service, involving intricate hand and rifle movements along with marching.
Cadet 2nd Lt. Josh Heald said the idea for the performance came after Jim Stanko, the organizer of the service, came to talk to the Civil Air Patrol about Memorial Day and saw a similar drill being done.
Cadet 2nd Lt. Aidan Gibbs and Heald worked to develop the actual movements for the drill along with Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Andrea Houston.
Gibbs and Houston performed the rifle movements, which required weeks of training, Heald said.
“They spend so much of their own time,” Heald said. “It’s never easy.”
For Heald, it was his fourth year being involved with the Memorial Day service in some way, and this time, it comes only four weeks before he leaves for basic training with the Air Force.
“I always wanted to fly,” Heald said about joining the Civil Air Patrol in 2010. “I just fell in love with it."
Now, he’s working toward his pilot's license and has dreams of becoming an officer and a pilot with the Air Force.
His involvement with the Civil Air Patrol and working alongside other veterans helped instill a passion for the military and service, Heald said.
“Service, to me, is one of the most important things,” Heald added.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz