Eagle County honors those who sacriﬁced
EDWARDS, Colorado – For Sarah Vaughan, from Edwards, the Memorial Day service in Freedom Park on Monday was especially touching.
The event honored her son and the other local veterans who have died in the line of duty. Vaughan’s son, U.S. Army Lt. John Shaw Vaughan, was killed in Iraq in 2006 at age 23.
“I am so proud to be his mother,” she said, sitting on a bench in Freedom Park inscribed with her son’s name. “It just makes me realize how important this day is. I feel there are so many people that don’t realize the true meaning of Memorial Day.”
About 200 people paused to honor that true meaning Monday during the sixth annual Memorial Day service at Freedom Park. The Freedom Park Memorial Committee and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10721 organized the event.
“The purpose is to help people remember that their freedoms don’t come free and that our country is very special and we need to remember those who have given their lives so we can have the freedoms we have,” VFW Service Officer Pat Hammon said.
The ceremony featured a reading of the names of nearly 40 Eagle County residents who have died in service to their country.
It also included an official dedication of a piece of limestone that broke off the Pentagon during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has been installed in a memorial at Freedom Park.
Edwards resident Herb Rubinstein, 88, was among the World War II veterans in attendance who were recognized. He served with the U.S. Army’s 89th Infantry Division, and his regimen liberated the Ohrduf concentration camp in eastern Germany. For Rubinstein, Memorial Day is an emotional time.
“First of all, it evokes the memories of the guys I served with,” he said. “It evokes those who didn’t come back. It’s very sentimental, as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s also a troubling reminder for Rubinstein of the young people who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“When I read about all the casualties that are coming in – I can’t stand to see the pictures of those young kids who are getting killed,” he said. “It’s very sad for me.”
Many people in the audience have family members or friends who are currently serving in the military.
Gypsum resident Theresa Ladenburger said her son, 28-year-old U.S. Army Sgt. Sam Ladenburger, has served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Given that, Memorial Day has a special importance in her heart.
“You never know if it’s going to be his name that’s going to be called,” she said.
It means a lot to Theresa Ladenburger that people don’t forget there are sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who are serving their country, she said.
Jack McLean, author of the Vietnam War memoir “The Loon,” delivered the keynote speech at the event. Colorado state Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Eagle County, and Eagle County Commissioner Sara Fisher also spoke.
Tab Bonidy, principal at Tab Associates Inc. in Avon, acknowledged the contractors and businesses that donated their time to build the Pentagon memorial. Buddy Sims, a member of the VFW and Freedom Park Memorial Committee, told the story of how Eagle County got its piece of the Pentagon.
Admiring the memorial, Fran and Allan Goldman, from Edwards, said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit home for them. They lived in New York for 25 years, and their daughter had been working in the city just a block away from the World Trade Center when the planes hit.
“A piece of us all died when the 3,000 died that day,” Fran Goldman said.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.