Two Memorial Day events that recognize the true meaning of the holiday | VailDaily.com

Two Memorial Day events that recognize the true meaning of the holiday

Kenton Krohlow is a God and country kind of guy.

On Monday's Memorial Day holiday, he'll deliver a speech from Freedom Park in Edwards, detailing what Memorial Day is, and what it is not.

"I'm going to talk a little bit about how this is Memorial Day, where we honor our nation's dead," Krohlow said. "And that Memorial Day is for those people only, it is not decoration day, and it is not to honor all veterans."

Krohlow is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served active duty for two years. When he returned home, he still thought highly enough of the U.S. Army that he volunteered to serve in the National Guard, first in his home state of Wisconsin, and then here in Colorado after he moved to Vail in the early ’80s.

For many years, he did not do much to recognize Memorial Day. After joining the local VFW, he was reminded of the national holiday's importance in the culture.

"I think it's important for each individual to go out and honor those traditions, honor those institutions that bring us together as a community, as a nation," he said.

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One way to do that would be to attend the Freedom Park Memorial Committee's annual ceremony, which will be held "in memory of all veterans of the armed forces who have served our country, and especially to those from Eagle County who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom," according to the committee.

The event starts at 4 p.m. and will also include recognition of the fragment of limestone from the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, which is now installed at Freedom Park.

Krohlow will be the keynote speaker at the event. He says if you're not able to attend, then you can recognize the holiday in your own way.

"When I was growing up in Northern Wisconsin, Memorial Day was not a big deal," he said. "It was more of a decoration day. But I would go with my mother, to all the cemeteries, and do some spring cleaning."

In addition to a speech from Krohlow, the program will include local dignitaries, veterans, the choir from Eagle Valley High School and members of Boy Scout Troops 222 and 231. It starts at 4 p.m., so locals can catch both the 13th annual Freedom Park event in the afternoon, and the 58th annual Memorial Day Ceremony at Tennessee Pass in the morning.

TENNESSEE PASS CEREMONY

Veterans, local Coloradans, descendants and friends of the 10th Mountain Division will gather on Monday starting at 9:30 a.m. to honor their fallen comrades of the 10th Mountain Division and the 99th Battalion. The ceremony will take place at the 10th Mountain Division memorial located on Tennessee Pass near the entryway to Ski Cooper.

The World War II "men of the mountain," as they were known, trained at Ski Cooper in the 1940s, when it was known as Cooper Hill.

"This is the 58th annual Memorial Day Ceremony honoring those who served in the 10th Mountain Division and all other veterans of America's wars," said Trux Dole, 10th Mountain Division Foundation President. "We will gather at Tennessee Pass to especially remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the 10th Mountain Division."

Open to the public, this Colorado Memorial Day tradition is a meaningful and touching event that will remind participants of the sacrifice of our great heroes, and give them the opportunity to see and touch World War II artifacts and equipment provided by the 10th Mountain Living History Group. In addition, Soldiers from the 157th Colorado Army National Guard Battalion recently aligned under the 10th Mountain Division will participate in this year's ceremony.

Because of limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The Lake County High School Band will provide music and the Canyon City Junior ROTC Color Guard will post colors in honor of those that gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.

The World War II 10th Mountain Division was created in Colorado in 1943 and trained at Camp Hale in Eagle County. It was the only unit in the history of the United States Army to be organized specifically for mountain and winter warfare. The highly regarded 10th played a major role in the battles that brought about the surrender of the German Army in Italy in 1945. After the war, the division was deactivated and many of the veterans went on to create ski resorts across America, including, among others, Vail. Veterans of the 10th were instrumental in making skiing a major American winter sport.

Reactivated in 1985 and based out of Fort Drum, New York, the 10th Mountain Division has proudly carried the moniker of "the most deployed division in our Army," and is furthering the division's legacy. Since 9/11, the Division Headquarters has deployed 11 times equaling almost 12 years and more than 40 brigade size deployments have occurred.

This story contains material from a press release provided by the 10th Mountain Division Foundation.