It was a toasty Memorial Day morning in Nevada, but despite the heat, the cemetery was filled with people — most of whom gathered anywhere around the service area where there was shade — for the annual observance and service. This year marks the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day.


This year’s speaker was Story County Deputy Jason Grubbs, who noted that he’s spent the last 20 years of his life in service in the military or law enforcement.


Grubbs thanked all those who made it to the event, and thanked all those who were veterans in attendance for their service to this country.


“Freedom comes at a very high cost that only a few are willing to pay,” Grubbs said.


He talked about how this time of year is also a time when so many graduations are celebrated, and graduates would now plan their lives, some heading to college or to a job or to start a family of their own. Then, he rolled the clock back to years when May marked the beginning of a different future for many young people during times of conflict. Times like May of 1918, the first offensive wave of WWI; or May of 1942, the Battle of Midway or the Mays during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.


All throughout history, Grubbs said, brave men and women have sacrificed … given up their hopes and dreams … for a cause greater than themselves. These sacrifices, he noted, “led to better quality of life for all of humanity.”


He encouraged people to always show respect for those who have served and made sacrifices in doing so. One way, he said, was to do exactly what people were doing at the service Monday — attending. Another way is learning about veterans, which can be done through research or sitting down with any veteran and listening to his or her stories. Another way — acknowedging the loss and sacrifice of the loved ones left behind.


Monday was about celebrating heroes, Grubbs said. “The heroes we celebrate today paved the way of securing that tomorrow for all of us.”


Others taking part in Monday’s service included Nevada Mayor Brett Barker, the Rev. John Molacek, the Nevada High School and junior high bands, Boys State representatives Noah Nusbaum and Jack Cahill, Girls State Representatives Lindsey Donnelly and Kelby Rewerts, Beth Lycke, Carol and Dillan Thompson, Boys State Citizen and Eagle Scout Andrew Barloon, and members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Tribute was paid to honorary parade marshal Denny Otto.


Earlier in the morning, a flag-raising at the Story County Community Building involved Monty Woodward, Erin Rewerts, Mayor Brett Barker, Tim McLaughlin and the Rev. John Molacek.


Current Patriotic Council members include Sue McCaskey, president; Linda Beem, secretary; Judi Blair, treasurer and Calvin Beem, Avenue of Flags.


See a photo gallery from this event on the Nevada Journal Facebook page.