Time-honored Memorial Day traditions return to Steamboat Springs
Editor’s note: This article has been edited to reflect that Hayden American Legion Post’s Memorial Day service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Hayden Cemetery.
After being sidelined by COVID-19 last year, Steamboat Springs veterans are hoping to return to their time-honored Memorial Day tradition by hosting a ceremony and recognizing three soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
“Each year, the posts pay tribute to our veterans in different ways to honor their service,” said local veteran Jim Stanko. “This year, the posts will honor the service of three men who the posts are named after.”
The Memorial Day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Monday at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery. As in the past, Steamboat Springs Transit buses will be used to shuttle people to the ceremony site beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Steamboat Springs Transit Center.
“We will not do the changing of the guard or the horse or anything like that,” Stanko said. “We are going to go back to the way we did it a long time ago.”
Stanko said the ceremony will be scaled back to roughly a half hour in an effort to reduce the time people are together and limit the exposure for the veterans taking part and those who attend.
Since the event will be held outside, masks will be optional, and social distancing will be encouraged.
• Veterans in Steamboat Springs will place flags on graves in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27
• The VFW and American Legion posts in Steamboat Springs will host a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday, May 31, at Steamboat Springs Cemetery. Bus service from Steamboat Springs Transit Center to the public cemetery begins at 9:30 a.m.
• The Hayden American Legion Post 89 will be hosting its annual Memorial Day service at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 31, at the Hayden Cemetery. A free dinner at the Legion post will follow the ceremony.
“This year, what we are trying to do is a memorial more or less than anything else,” Stanko said. “We are going to try to remember the three people that our posts are named after. Basically, what we’re going to do is just a couple of readings, lower the flag, lay the wreath, honor the three people, fire the guns, blow the bugle and go home.”
There also will be an opening prayer, speakers and singing provided by Maureen Hogue.
Routt County soldiers being honored at this year’s ceremony include Marine Cpl. Leo Hill, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bernard Schubring and U.S. Navy Seaman 2nd Class Charles Cruse.
According to a biography compiled by veteran Doc Daughgenbaugh and Paula Gregory, Hill was killed July 19, 1918, during the battle of Chateau-Thierry in World War I.
During a 31-day campaign, which included the battle of Chateau-Thierry, the marines lost 1,062 men and suffered another 3,615 wounded in action. That July 19 would become the deadliest day in the history of the 6th Marine Regiment.
He was the first casualty from Routt County in World War I, and the American Legion Post No. 44 is named in his honor.
The ceremony will also honor Bernard Schubring and Charles Cruse, who were both killed in action in World War II.
In May 1944, Schubring’s 157th Regiment was in Italy and in the lead position as the allies began their drive toward Rome, following the Cisterna-Camp Leone road northward. The Germans launched a counter attack May 27, during which Schubring was able to convince a German soldier to surrender. The following day, Schubring’s company was overrun by the Germans, and two platoons and their commander died in the fighting. Schubring was among the casualties.
Cruse enlisted in the Navy on Feb. 6, 1942, two months after Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the USS Atlanta, a light cruiser designed to provide anti-aircraft protection for Naval task forces. The Atlanta took part in the Battle of Midway, the battle of the Eastern Solomon Islands and was heavily damaged while protecting American ships in Guadalcanal in November 1942.
That is where Cruse, a gunner’s mate, was killed while manning his weapon. His body was never recovered, and he was officially listed by the navy as missing-in-action. His name was inscribed on a wall with other MIAs in the American Military Cemetery in Manila. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.
“Since Sept. 11 and our military’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, all across the nation, there has been a renewed attendance at Memorial Day ceremonies, and the same is true in Steamboat Springs,” Stanko said. “Over the last few years, attendance at this ceremony has been terrific, and the members of the post greatly appreciate those that take the time to honor and remember the nation’s deceased veterans to preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice.”
Hayden to host Memorial Day service
Hayden American Legion Post 89 is hosting its annual Memorial Day service at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 31 at the Hayden Cemetery.
Local veterans will place American Flags at the cemetery at 6 p.m. Friday for anyone who wishes to participate. Any veterans or legion members who would like to participate in the ceremony should meet at the Legion Post at 5:30 p.m.
The Memorial Day ceremony is open to the public and will be followed by a free dinner at the legion post.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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