Steamboat Memorial Day ceremony will honor those who have fallen |

Steamboat Memorial Day ceremony will honor those who have fallen

Vietnam War veteran Hal Matthes helps 12-year-old Caleb Haack place a flag at the gravesite of a veteran Friday at Steamboat Springs Cemetery.
Matt Stensland

After the hail melted and the skies cleared Friday, Steamboat Springs Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol cadets were on a mission to honor those who died serving our country.

Guided by veterans, they tried to interpret the maps to locate gravestones, some of which were decayed or hidden beneath grass.

“I think I should get a badge for map reading,” said Navy veteran Hal Matthes, who worked on a search and rescue boat during the Vietnam war.

While placing American flags at the gravestones, Boy Scouts stopped to talk about what the holiday meant to them and why it was important.

“Because they served our country so we could have a good place to live and not be afraid of something happening,” 12-year-old Boy Scout Caleb Haack said.

Routt County residents will gather Monday to remember those veterans.

In Steamboat, veterans from VFW Post 4264 and American Legion Post 44 will hold a service beginning at 11 a.m. at Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

Those attending can park at Stock Bridge Transit Center and take buses to the cemetery beginning at 9:40 a.m.

This year, the ceremony will recognize the riderless horse, which serves as a reminder of those who have died while serving.

Riding boots are placed reversed in the horse stirrups to represent a fallen leader looking back on his troops for the last time.

Some of the notable veterans buried at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery include Claude Luekens, who served as a Routt County commissioner for 28 years and as the mayor of Steamboat for 23 years. He was the only person to serve as mayor and county commissioner at the same time.

Also buried in the cemetery is James Noyce, Routt County’s first aviator.

He was killed during a training flight in 1918.

Guy Utter was killed during the Battle of Verdun.

His body was recovered and buried in the cemetery on Memorial Day 1922.

In Hayden, the American Legion will have a service beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hayden Cemetery.


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