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Honoring those who have served and those who died doing so

Let me first say that Boulder City is very fortunate to have the Southern Nevada Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in its own backyard. It’s just one of two in the state.

The facility always plays host to a moving Memorial Day event honoring those fallen heroes. This year was no exception. This is done by guest speakers, military representation and flags placed at the grave markers as far as the eye can see. In the past, I’ve been there when a lone bagpipe could be heard playing “Amazing Grace.” That one gets me every time.

On social media I saw a lot of people wishing others a “Happy Memorial Day.” I’ve heard that’s not appropriate because it is not a day to celebrate but rather, honor. I, like many others, am probably guilty of blurring those lines in terms of Memorial Day and Veterans Day, albeit with good intentions.

Simply put, Memorial Day is a day to honor those men and women who died while serving in the military. Veterans Day, which is celebrated Nov. 11, honors all who have served in the military.

According to its website, “The cemetery is located on 79 acres of land owned and maintained by the state of Nevada. The grounds are serene, peaceful and immaculately maintained. The cemetery serves as a place of rest and reflection where eligible veterans, their spouses and eligible dependents are remembered and honored in perpetuum.”

Being that my grandparents and aunt are among those laid to rest at the cemetery, I would wholeheartedly agree with that assessment.

And not to be forgotten are the nearly 400 veterans laid to rest at the Boulder City Cemetery, which occurred prior to the opening of the SNVMC. In walking through there to get a photo to go with my Memorial Day coverage, I found the grave of Floyd W. Hurt. Mr. Hurt, who fought in World War I, was born in 1891 and lived to be nearly 93. The things he must have seen during his lifetime.

I’ve realized that a simple “thank you for your service” is not enough to give those who have served to protect this great country and our freedoms, many of whom died in the process. But in this day and age where common courtesy and gratitude are often forgotten, a heartfelt “thank you” is better than nothing at all.

I’ll close with this quote from President Harry S. Truman, who said, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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