Young, old remember those who fell |

Young, old remember those who fell

Memorial Day ceremony honors sacrifice, tradition

— As veterans gathered on a hill to commemorate fallen American soldiers at Monday’s Memorial Day observance at the Steamboat cemetery, their thoughts turned to hills they left behind in places like North Africa, Normandy and Vietnam.

“As I get older, it gets tougher,” said Rick Turczynski, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who fought in the Vietnam War. “It’s hard to understand. Why am I here and they didn’t get to come home?”

There are more than 250 veterans buried in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery, each of whom had their graves marked with an American flag on Monday. Many more Steamboat veterans “sleep beyond the seas,” lying in graves in foreign countries.

More than 100 people gathered at the cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremonies at 11 a.m. Monday, tipping their hats and holding their hearts as the American flag was lowered to half-mast. The names of Steamboat veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in the Civil War, World War I and World War II were read off during the ceremony.

A color guard bearing flags for POW’s and MIA’s, among others, marched across the cemetery to stand at attention before the American flag, followed by the somber bleating of a bagpipe. Another group of seven held rifles aloft and shot three rounds into the air to salute their fallen comrades. A group of boy scouts lowered the flag.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

“This is how we honor all the people that give us our freedom,” said Wayne Weber, a Vietnam War veteran.

Families laid wreaths on the graves of loved ones and others placed flowers on the graves.

Ty Upson, a marine who came to the ceremony in his crisp dress blues, said that while the event marked a sad reality, it was not necessarily a somber occasion.

“It’s good to see people get the respect they deserve,” Upson said.

Upson, along with members of the American Legion and the VFW, helped place the flags at the grave sites of veterans on Friday.

Nancy McQuarrie, whose father was a World War II veteran, said the recent coverage of World War II in movies and books has helped prolong the memory of those soldiers.

She said that with many of those veterans now passing away, it is important that they are remembered.

Not everyone was there to visit a fallen comrade or relative, however.

Mark Lehmann took his 10-year-old daughter Caitlin to the ceremony to allow her to see the graves of fallen soldiers and understand their sacrifice.

“I just like to explain what Memorial Day is about and how you should take pride in your country,” he said. “As you get older you realize what freedom means and the importance of the people who paid the ultimate price for it.”

Caitlin, who listened intently as her father gave a history lesson, seemed to understand the message he was trying to impart.

“I come here because I think it’s right to observe the day of the soldiers who fought for us,” she said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Fly the Steamboat skies this weekend

The skies over Steamboat Springs will be busy this weekend, as the Steamboat Springs Airport Fly In and Appreciation Day takes place 7 a.m. to 3 p.m Sunday. The public is invited to visit the…

See more