Local veterans, service workers to be honored in Edwards Memorial Day observance at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 28 | VailDaily.com

Local veterans, service workers to be honored in Edwards Memorial Day observance at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 28

A Memorial Day ceremony will take place at Freedom Park in Edwards from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on on Monday, May 28. West Point Cadet David Witt, a graduate of Eagle Valley High School, will give a speech.

EAGLE COUNTY — The 59th annual Tennessee Pass Memorial Day ceremony starts at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 28, but you may want to get there early.

And if you want to make a day of it, then plan on heading from there to the Edwards Freedom Park observance, scheduled to start at 4 p.m., with a stop at the Greenwood Cemetery near Red Cliff on the way.

Greenwood is the county's oldest cemetery, and may be the county's most direct connection to Memorial Day's origins as actual Civil War veterans are buried there.

Boy Scout Troop 231 helped clean up the Greenwood Cemetery in advance of the Memorial Day weekend, and found it to be in rough shape. Local veteran Pat Hammon was with the local troop.

"There's wooden headstones with names that are beginning to wear off, and people from the Civil War and the Spanish-American War there," she said. "It's been cleaned up quite a bit in the last few years, but it's still in need of help."

The cemetery is located in unincorporated Eagle County just outside of the Red Cliff city limits, and does not receive funds from the cemetery district, so any maintenance that does take place there occurs on a volunteer basis.

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To get there, take a right on Monument Street, and a left on Pine Street. A high clearance car will help, as the road becomes rutted as you approach the cemetery.

HEAVY FLAG

Hammon is organizing the Edwards Freedom Park ceremony, which will feature Eagle Valley High School graduate David Witt as the guest speaker. Witt just finished his freshman year at West Point.

"My speech is going to be about how the military culture creates a very connected and family-like environment," Witt said.

Organizers will read the names of all the Eagle County veterans and emergency responders who have died in the line of duty. There will be a bell there, which is a replica of the one that is used at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

"We'll read the names, and with each name, the Boy Scouts will ring the bell," Hammon said. "We've also lost four veterans in the last five months, they didn't die in the line of duty but we'll mention their names as well."

Local student Carolyn Dewell, who just finished her sophomore year at Eagle Valley High School, will sing the National Anthem.

Veterans will carry the American flag, and the scouts will help raise the flag up the flagpole.

"It's a big, heavy flag, so it takes an adult and a couple scouts to pull the flag back up from half mast," Hammon said.

For Hammon, the most important aspect of the Freedom Park observance is helping the community understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.

"It's not about beer and barbecues, it's about remembering those who have fought to preserve our freedoms, and have died," she said. "It's the beginning of summer, it's getting families together and an American tradition."

The Freedom Park ceremony will last approximately 45 minutes. There will be parking available at the WECMRD Field House and Colorado Mountain College.

"We recommend people get there at 3:30 and get settled," Hammon said.