Flying the color of freedom
EDWARDS, Colorado – Freedom Park’s huge American flag flew at half-staff Thursday, Veterans Day, as a crowd gathered to thank the veterans who lived and to remember those who didn’t.
A couple hundred yards west stood a crane above Colorado Mountain College’s construction site, another large flag flying high in the blazing sky, wafting on the afternoon breeze in the setting sun.
Both flew above the 1-ton limestone block that was blasted out of the Pentagon wall on Sept. 11, 2001, a constant reminder that freedom is worth defending from those who would destroy it.
Some have given “the last full measure” in the fight for that freedom, and others will, said one veteran who addressed the crowd.
They have many days. Thursday was one.
“This is a day for our veterans and to honor everything they do for us,” local veteran Pat Hammon told the crowd.
Cpl. Amy Van Goey was the keynote speaker. The Marine veteran pointed out, among other things, that fewer than 10 percent of all Americans are military veterans.
Four World War II veterans were on hand: Herb Rubenstein, Alan Aaron, Sandy Treat and Ernie Brown.
Local veterans spent all week in area schools, talking to kids about what military life is like, what’s good, what’s not and what to expect if they choose to serve. One started rattling off Vietnamese during a visit to Battle Mountain High School. He was a huge hit.
Bernie Kreuger, retired from the Marines, read the first part of a Veterans Day proclamation from the president. He passed it to his brother, John Kreuger, retired from the Navy, who continued reading.
The Kreugers were raised here. Bernie is a retired lieutenant colonel who attended the U.S. Naval Academy. John entered military service through Notre Dame’s Naval ROTC program.
They both came to the service through their father, who enlisted in the Army and served in the 101st Airborne.
As the sun set on Freedom Park, the crowd was reminded that the sun will never set on freedom.
Battle Mountain High School musician Kristofer Thornton played taps on his glistening silver trumpet in the crisp afternoon air. The color guard of local veterans retired the flag.
The crowd milled around for several minutes, exchanging greetings, laughing and thinning out as the sun slipped behind a mountain and a snowstorm rolled in.
They are free to go wherever they choose and do whatever they want in America.
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