Memorial Day ceremonies to honor service, sacrifice

Posted 5/22/10

On May 31, there will be two Memorial Day ceremonies in Littleton and a ceremony at Fort Logan that are being held to honor the service and sacrifice …

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Memorial Day ceremonies to honor service, sacrifice


On May 31, there will be two Memorial Day ceremonies in Littleton and a ceremony at Fort Logan that are being held to honor the service and sacrifice of all members of the military, past and present.

The tradition that established the Memorial Day observance is stated as “… to honor all veterans laid to rest in this sacred national cemetery, to all the prisoners of war and those missing in action who never returned, to all who have served and those who, even now, guard the gates of freedom world wide.”

The first ceremony of the day starts at 8 a.m. in the Veteran’s Memorial Circle located in the Littleton Cemetery at 6155 S. Prince St.

The ceremony will unveil a headstone honoring David Louis Hrdlicka, a U.S. Air Force captain from Littleton whose plane was shot down over Laos in 1965. Hrdlicka was a documented prisoner of war for several years. He was reported to have died in 1968 while imprisoned, but it has not been proven.

“The hardest part is that his family never knew what happened to him,” said Littleton City Councilmember and President of the Littleton Cemetery Association Joseph Trujillo. “Putting the stone up is our way of saying to the family that we care.”

All of the veterans interred in the veterans’ circle died either in action or as a result of an injury incurred while in action.

A second, mirror-image service will be held at 10 a.m. at the Littleton World War II Memorial in Ketring Park, 6000 S. Gallup St.

Also at 11 a.m. there will be a ceremony near the lake at Fort Logan National Cemetery, 3698 S. Sheridan Blvd.

Both ceremonies in Littleton, sponsored by the Pat Hannon Post Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4666 and the George C. Evans American Legion Post 103, follow the same program with the El Jebel Pipe Band playing Amazing Grace and the All Veterans Honor Guard firing the traditional 21-gun salute.

The ceremonies will include reading of the poem “Flander’s Field” and the poem, “My Plea.” The poem “My Plea was written by Marine Lcpl. Patrick Hannon, the first Littleton resident to die in the Vietnam War.

Also at 11 a.m., Fort Logan National Cemetery will hold its annual Memorial Day observance that is sponsored by the Associated Veterans of Colorado. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, of Colorado, is one of the featured speakers.

A group representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Retired Enlisted Association Auxiliary and the Gold Star Wives will place a ceremonial wreath at a symbolic grave marker, the honor guard will raise their rifles, fire the 21-gun salute and the bugle will play “Taps.”

In case the weather is bad, the services will be held at Verle Huffman VFW Post 9644 at 2680 W. Hampden Ave. in Sheridan.

After the Fort Logan ceremonies, VFW Post 9644 and its Ladies Auxiliary will host a luncheon at the facility that is two blocks east of Federal on Hampden Avenue.

Preparations for the ceremonies at Fort Logan begin May 29 when volunteers, most of them young people from a variety of scouting organizations, place a small American flag adjacent to each of the more than 54,000 headstones at the national cemetery and the same day, flags will be placed on the graves of veterans buried at the Littleton Cemetery.

— Staff writer Heather Sackett contributed to this report.


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