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Mother Nature provided a backdrop of clear skies and warm sunshine Nov. 11 as about 500 people attended the 40 ceremony marking Veterans Day at Fort Logan National Cemetery. It is the first time in three years the ceremony was held inside Verle Huffman Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9644 in Sheridan.
The ceremony was held to celebrate the service, sacrifice and enduring achievement of almost 22 million living Americans who are serving or have served our nation in uniform.
The event followed the traditional format. There were speeches, the ceremonial placing of a wreath at a symbolic head stone, the 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps."
Those attending the ceremony included many veterans who wore symbols of their service including caps and vests, military members in uniform as well as a number of young people in uniform as members of the Colorado Wing of the Civil Air Patrol formed the honor guard presenting the colors at the opening of the ceremony and performed other tasks. Also, members of the Mountain View Young Marines were handing out programs.
Marsha Perkins wiped tears away as "Taps" played.
“I lost my husband in Korea,” the Arapahoe County resident said. “I always come here for Veterans Day and I always cry when the play Taps.”
Many veterans attended the event.
“I come every year to Fort Logan often and always try to get here on Veterans Day,” Walter Ohmart, a World War II veteran, said as he stood among the headstones. "I come to visit my parents who are buried here and some of my buddies who are buried here. I always come to visit the grave of a long-time friend and neighbor who served in World War II. On every visit, I made sure to give him a salute.”
Friends Bill Day and Nick Weidle, both Vietnam veterans, were at the event.
Day, a pastor, said he thanks God for those who served our country. He said throughout our history those in uniform and their families made the sacrifices that are part of military service because they love their country.
“Vietnam wasn’t a good time in our history and it wasn’t good for us when we came home,” the visitor from Arizona said. “I am pleased it is so different today as our men and women who are serving now are welcomed home.”
A number of members of the Canadian military services stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora attended the ceremonies in uniform.
“We came to honor veterans like we would if we were at home,” Canadian Warrant Officer Tyler Schulze said. “Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, the only day set aside to honor veterans.”
The rifle salute was fired by the All Veterans Honor Guard. The honor guard is made up of veterans who volunteer to provide the rifle salute at military funerals as well as at ceremonies like Veterans Day.
“I am just another veteran honor guard volunteer,” Vietnam veteran Ed Kursey said. “I was in the post honor guard when we lived in Pennsylvania. We moved here four years ago and I joined Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1 in Denver. They were asking for volunteers for the honor guard. My wife said that was something I should do, so here I am. Being in the honor guard is very special. I feel I am honoring veterans every time we are called to be in uniform whether it is for a military funeral or at a ceremony like this on Veterans Day.”
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