With uncertain weather on Monday morning, Nevada’s Patriotic Council made a decision early to move the annual observance ceremony indoors.
More chairs needed to be set up as area residents showed up in good number to pay their respects to those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“As I was preparing for today, I came across an article claiming only 28 percent of Americans really understand the true meaning of Memorial Day,” said Capt. Nick Lennie of the Story County Sheriff’s Office, who gave the main address for the service.
“I certainly do not consider myself part of that 28 percent, but as I read further, I gained a deeper understanding of the traditions and history of Memorial Day. It is difficult to honor and pay respect to those who have fallen if you don’t have a good understanding of why and how we have come to create those traditions.”
Lennie went on to explain the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the latter being a day to honor those who have served. “Memorial Day is about honoring those who have lost their lives while serving their country,” he said. “The intent of this solemn day wasn’t for Americans to have an extra day to go boating, camping, swimming or getting together with friends to barbecue. It is about honoring the patriots who gave their lives to provide the freedoms we have and to protect our values and the way of life we hold dear. Without their sacrifices, we would not have the freedoms and luxuries we enjoy every day.”
Lennie named a few of Nevada’s fallen heroes by name, including Specialist 2nd Class Gary Wayne Bartmess, who was killed by an explosive device in South Vietnam; Second Lt. Max Harvey Collins, who on May 4, 1953, was starting a combat mission when his aircraft crashed on take-off; and Sgt. Robert Jason Gore, a member of the National Guard 186th Military Police Unit, who was 23 years old when he died from injuries sustained in a helicopter attack 12 miles north of Baghdad in 2005.
Also honored during the service were Elbert and Robert Lowe, brothers who were to serve as honorary parade marshals. The parade was canceled because of the weather, and Elbert was unable to attend the services because of illness, but Robert was present and honored for his service. (A story appeared about the Lowe brothers in last week’s Nevada Journal.) During the service, special mention was also made of local veterans lost to us more recently. New flags will now honor George “Bill” Atkinson, Charles T. “Charlie” Chaplain, Donald “Don” A. Hale, Mark M. Heintz, Komer A. Johnson, Thomas R. “Tom” Johnston, Francis J. “Frank” McGreevy, Morris “Morrie” VanSickle and Walter G. Whitehead. Family members present stood as their loved ones were named. Also asked to come forward and be recognized was Noah Nusbaum, who is joining the military.
Others taking part in the service were Nevada Mayor Brett Barker, master of ceremonies; the Rev. Scott Milsom, who gave the invocation and paid tribute to the Lowe brothers; the Nevada High School and eighth-grade bands; Dominik Garcia, an Eagle Scout candidate who led the Pledge of Allegiance; Don Kockler, who led the presentation of flags; Luke Schmitz, Boys State citizen who read, “They Stand in Line;” Andrew Rohde, Boys State citizen, who read “The Gettysburg Address;” Beth Lycke, Carol and Dillan Thompson, with the American Legion and Junior Auxiliary, who presented and did the “Laying of the Wreath;” Benjamin Rima, who read “A Veteran;” Reagan Chitty, a Girls State citizen, who read “Those Honored Dead;” the Firing Squad of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars; and high school band members, Kimberly Garcia and Harold Dobernecker, who played “Taps” and the “Taps Echo.”
The program also noted special thanks to the following: Wade Presley and his band members, Central Elementary School for use of the sound system, those who were willing to provide convertibles, Hertz Farm Management for printing the programs, area Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for their assistance, Rasmusson-Ryan Funeral Home for chairs and the community volunteers, who along with the Boy Scouts, helped with the Avenue of Flags.
More pictures can be seen from this event on the Nevada Journal Facebook page.