Vail Daily letter: Thanks for Memorial Day

Looking back on a most rewarding Memorial Day program at Freedom Park Memorial Park, on behalf of VFW Post 10721 and The Freedom Park Memorial Committee, I would like to thank a number of incredibly wonderful people who gave of their time and talents.

First of all, we would like to thank all the kind and thoughtful citizens who joined us at the park to remember and respect our fallen comrades. And a heartfelt thanks to all who participated in the program:

• Deacon Stephen Baird, US Navy, submarines, Vietnam era. Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration answered the call at the last minute and shared a most meaningful prayer and benediction with us. Thank you!

• Don Watson just happened to step up and introduce himself to me. Of course I knew him and of course I asked him to sing. Talk about a fabulous, impromptu performance! He did a wonderful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Thank you!

• Boy Scouts of Troop 222 and their Scout Masters, who helped with the color guard with ringing the bell for the names of our county’s heroes who died in the line of duty, and with raising the big American flag after taps. Many thanks to you all!!

• Clark Shively, US Army Vietnam era, who helps us to maintain the memorial site and who switched out the flag for a new, bright one and who was in the color guard. Thanks!

• Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County commissioner, who led the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks!

• Jill Ryan, Eagle County commissioner, who read the 2014 Memorial Day Proclamation from President Obama and whose son Dax enchanted us all. Thanks!

• Diane Mitsch Bush, state House representative, House District 26, who gave the keynote address. Many thanks for taking time to join us!

• Lou Meskimen, US Army, Vietnam, and Dave Snyder, US Army, Vietnam, who did the honored duty of color guard. Thanks!

• Gary Thornton, retired captain, US Coast Guard, our loyal and talented musician who played cadence for the color guard and “Taps.”

• Mike Staten and the crew from WECMRD thanks for the PA system, the bleachers and all the help setting up.

And to the men and women who did the honored duty of reading the names of the Eagle County heroes, both military and EMS, who perished in the line of duty :

• Berne Krueger, retired colonel, US Marine Corps (one tour in Iraq).

• Mike Halas, captian, Colorado National Guard (two tours in Iraq plus one tour in Afghanistan).

• Dan Smith, US Army, Vietnam. Eagle County Mountain Rescue.

• Jim Fleckner, US Air Force, Vietnam.

• James van Beek, US Army, Germany.

• Bethany Boston-Johnson, daughter of the late Col. Boston, U.S. Air Force, who, until recently, was MIA in Vietnam and is now resting in peace at The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs

Thank you to everyone who brought us the blessing of good weather and to everyone who helped us to maintain the duty of remembering those who have served to protect our freedoms.

Pat Hammon

Eagle County veteran service officer


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 6, 2014 06:18PM Published Jun 4, 2014 09:33PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.