A day set aside to remember

By Kaylee Durham

Monday, May 29, was a day set aside for remembering the fallen men and women who fought for the freedom of every American. Each person celebrates and remembers in their own fashion. American Legion, Wilson-Head Post 97 of Paonia, along with many other posts, holds memorial services to commemorate the loss of their fallen brethren.

"Comrades, this day is sacred with the almost visible presence of those who have gone before us," Legion Commander Lonnie Trujillo said. "We honor the memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country, and of those others who have dropped their burdens by the wayside of life and have gone to their eternal rest. May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for our departed friends and comrades."

The Wilson-Head American Legion Post 97 held its annual ceremony at the Bethlehem Cemetery following a ceremony on the Grand Avenue Bridge in Paonia. The two ceremonies honor the soldiers who have fallen overseas and the ones who have fallen on American soil.

At Bethlehem Cemetery Toni Kocjancic, an auxiliary member, and her mother, Charlotte Kocjancic, placed two wreaths at the base of the flag pole, while the American flag flew at half mast.

Earlier in the day the Hotchkiss Veterans of Foreign Wars, Black Canyon Post 9333, held a memorial service at Riverside Cemetery. Eight local veterans were present; the three youngest members fought in Vietnam and the rest fought in previous wars. Five members of Black Canyon Post 9333 shared the honor of speaking during the ceremony.

Commemorating all those who have sacrificed their lives in our United States Armed Forces, Junior Vice Commander Raymond Wear, Officer of the Day, Bill Mikus, and Auxiliary president Marie Strucker each placed one flower -- a red, white, and blue carnation -- at the base of the memorial monument.

"In memory of the heroic dead who have fallen in defense of the United States of America we place this tribute of our devotion and everlasting remembrance," said Bill Mikus as he laid down his red carnation.