The ability to gather once again to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the country was the ultimate honor for participants in this year’s Memorial Day ceremonies.
As local services returned a sense of normalcy to the weekend’s usual events, pride, honor and patriotism were as strong as ever.
“It’s an honor to be here,” said Bob Garlow, past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 36, in Boulder City, who served as master of ceremonies for the state’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Monday, May 31, afternoon.
The program was open to the public and featured music by Phil Esser and the laying of a ceremonial wreath at the cemetery’s Walk of Life memorial to honor veterans.
“When they selected me to do this, it’s one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Bill Perlmutter, a retired U.S. Navy captain.
Perlmutter, who serves as the chairman of the advisory board for the veterans’ cemetery, placed the wreath during the ceremony.
He said he thought it was OK for people to have a good time on Memorial Day with their family and friends but it was also important to take a minute to reflect on those who had given their lives protecting the country.
On Sunday, May 30, hundreds of motorcyclists participated in the 27th annual Fly Your Flags Over the Hoover Dam. They rode from the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam, past the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home to the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery where they joined with members of the Special Forces Association, Chapter 51, coming together as they do each year to honor their fallen brothers.
Crowded in the shade under the trees surrounding war memorials honoring those who served, the two groups gathered for a short service that paid tribute to those in the Special Forces who were killed in the past two years, as well as members of the association who died since the last ceremony in 2019.
It included a virtual 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and “The Ballad of the Green Berets.”
Arrow, president of the Nevada Vietnam Vets Legacy Vets Motorcycle Club, said the Memorial Day ceremony is a painful reminder of how those who served in Vietnam weren’t honored upon their return home or for their selfless sacrifices.
He said they were glad they were able to add a drive past the veterans home and even though most residents couldn’t be outside to see them because of the heat, the riders made sure their presence was known.
Prior to Sunday’s ceremony, Navy veterans Mick McLean and Al Slagle of Las Vegas came to the cemetery to honor those they served and worked with in the Philippines. Calling themselves the last two of the “dirty dozen,” the men placed flowers at the gravesites and poured Philippine beer on the headstones of two friends.
They said they come out every Memorial Day and Veterans Day and know the honor would be returned if they had died before their friends.
At the Boulder City Cemetery, members of American Legion, Post 31, and its auxiliary placed flags on the graves of veterans buried there.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.
Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.