Patriotism a ‘guiding light’ in Edwards |

Patriotism a ‘guiding light’ in Edwards

Dustin Racioppi
Edwards, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyRetired Marine Lt. Col. Bern Krueger, left, and attendees of the Community Veterans Day Program, salute the flag while reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance" on Tuesday at the Freedom Park Memorial in Edwards, Colorado.

EDWARDS, Colorado ” Higinio Romero’s been celebrating Veteran’s Day for more than half his life. But still, at 87, he doesn’t mind the recognition he got for his service in Edwards, Colorado on Tuesday.

“They change a little bit,” he said, “but I’m very proud of everything I’ve done.”

Mike Halas, who was discharged from the Army last year and recently enlisted in the National Guard, is proud too. But unlike Romero, he isn’t quite used to the recognition associated with Veteran’s Day.

“Being so new to getting out, it gets a little more real with time,” he said.

Romero, who served in World War II, and Halas, a former intelligence officer in the Iraq War, represented the cross-section of local veterans honored Tuesday at Freedom Park Memorial. They stood or sat among more than 25 veterans and visitors to pay respects to contemporaries, emergency responders, family and, in some cases, role models.

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“You are role models for each and every one of us in your own special way,” County Commissioner Sara Fisher said. “We are the spirit of our community. In these difficult times, our patriotism is our guiding light.”

Fisher said in order to bring together the Eagle County community in testing times, people should look to veterans and those who have put their life on the line for guidance.

“As we face the uncertain days ahead, may we follow in the footsteps of those that have served us well and will serve us,” she said.

That was a tough lesson for Jason Haynes to learn when he was younger. He said he couldn’t understand why his father had a plaque that said, “God. Country. Family.”

“I didn’t like it because I was third on the list,” Haynes, a pastor in Edwards, said. “Now that I’m a little bit older, I understand, and I don’t mind being third. I wish I could be fourth. By putting their country first, they served their family, friends and us.”

That’s why it was worth it for him to stand in the unrelenting snow and cold Tuesday, to simply convey that message to the veteran-heavy audience.

“(They are) an example of what love and sacrifice looks like,” he said.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or

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