Despite the blast of wintery weather, the speeches, wreath laying and 21-gun salute went on as planned Nov. 11 at the annual Veterans Day ceremonies at Fort Logan National Cemetery.
This is the 35th year Department of Colorado District 10 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary has sponsored the event honoring all those who have served or are serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Don McNeely, Veterans of Foreign War District 10 senior vice commander, said the day is very important because it is a time set aside to honor veterans and those now in the service for what they did for their country.
McNeely not only is active in the VFW, he is a member of the Veteran’s Honor Guard.
“I was the commander of the honor guard at the Presidio in California when I was on active duty and, when I learned about the veterans’ honor guard, I signed up,” the Vietnam veteran said. “We serve as the honor guard and fire the salute at funerals for veterans. I feel honored to be part of the group paying final tribute to a veteran.”
This year, about a dozen young men and women who are members of Centennial’s Young Marine unit cleared away snow from the podium area, handed out programs and held the national, state and armed forces flags in place as a stiff wind started to blow during the ceremonies.
Brenda McNulty, unit commander, said young men and women joining the organization go through recruit training focusing on subjects like physical training and drill. Then they join the unit serving as volunteers in a number of veterans’ events and providing informational programs at schools.
As the time drew near for the start of the ceremonies, a small crowd filtered in. Near the front of the seating area, Linda Wexler drew her coat around her against the chilly temperatures.
The Littleton resident said she is the fourth generation of her family to join the Army soon after graduating from high school.
“I came back to Colorado after my hitch in the Army and, for the last six years, I have made it a point to come to the Fort Logan ceremonies on Veterans Day,” she said. “I know what it is like to serve in the military and I feel being here is the least I can do to honor those who served before and after I was in the Army.”
She said she also comes to Fort Logan on Veterans Day to visit the graves of two friends and three family members because she feels that is the least she can do.
A short distance away, Tina Mason also hugged her coat around her against the cold.
“Coming to Fort Logan for Veterans Day is something I have done since I was a girl,” the Sheridan resident said. “My dad Harold was commander of Sheridan VFW Post 9644 in the 60s and I understand he is one of those who helped start the annual ceremonies for Veterans Day.”
She said she comes every year to honor the veterans and also to honor her dad and his dedication to honor all the men and women who served their country in the military services.