By Cheri Fisher and Su Phelps
Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day, because of the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers was officially observed on May 30th 1868. Presiding over the first official ceremony, at Arlington National Cemetery, was Ulysses S. Grant. In 1971 it became a national holiday known as Memorial Day and moved from May 30th to the last Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day that we’ve set aside to feel gratitude for those men and women who have given their lives for our country.
Memorial weekend 2018 started on May 24th with the Field of Honor at Cornerstone Park in Henderson. The Park was filled with over 800 flags in dedication to the military, law enforcement officers, first responders, and local heroes. At the center of the park they placed 58 flags with the names of the people that were lost during the October 1st 2017, Route 91 tragedy. Staff Sargent Joshua Rosan and the 823-squadron volunteered their time to place the flags. The flags could be purchased and a message was attached to honor that person. This event was sponsored by The Rotary Club of Green Valley, USO of Las Vegas and the City of Henderson and you could have visited the Field threw Memorial Day from 8am until dusk.
All over the valley there were numerous ceremonies. Palm Mortuary and American Legion Post #8 held their 53rd Annual Service at the Palm Mortuary on Main Street. Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Senator Dean Heller, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Senator Richard Bryan and Victor Ross (from Representative Catherine Cortez Masto’s office) attended and gave a memorial tribute about the meaning of the day and how we should always thank the brave men and women for their sacrifices and how we should carry on for them, to build a better America.
The 16th Annual Lakes Memorial Day Celebration was opened by the musical prelude by the Silver State Flute Choir. Master of Ceremonies was Commander Mike Percival, American Legion Post 76, colors were presented by The Centennial High School Navy JROTC, and The National Anthem was sung by Kadence Highfill, Becker Middle School. There was a flag folding ceremony by Palo Verde Air Force JROTC Honor Guard instructed by Captain Gordon Doughty USAF (Ret). Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske was present to honor the Veterans and the Memorial. The Wreath of Remembrance Service presenting the wreath were Ada McArthur; Las Vegas Chapter Gold Star Wives, Su Phelps; Society of Military Widows, Jack Ford; US Navy (WWII), Gene Schnose; US Navy (Korea), Walter “Buzz” Cheatham; Marine Corps (Vietnam), Gordon Doughty; US Air Force (Lebanon/ Grenada), Daniel McDonald; US Army (Panama), Paul Hestand; US Army (Persian Gulf/ Global War on Terror), the Cadets from Centennial High School Navy JROTC placed the wreath on the water while the tolling of the bell sounded. The Distinguished Guest Speaker was US Coast Guard (ret) Commander Richard Pokropski.
The Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetary held a beautiful ceremony in Boulder City. Bob Garlow, past State Commander VFW Post 36 called the ceremony to order. Ed Gilmore, Commander SAMS post 711 lead the pression for the presentation of the Colors by the Post Color Guard. National Anthem performed by Phil Esser and the keynote speakers were Katherine Miller, Director NDVS and LCDR Ed Giron, Commander Naval Operation Support Center Las Vegas. After the Ceremony inside there was a 21 Gun Salute by the Firing Honor Guard DAV Black Mountain Chapter 12 outside.