Remembering the cost of freedom in the Vail Valley
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –Suzanne Dauphinais watched the Veteran’s Day ceremony at Freedom Park in Edwards in Colorado’s Vail Valley with tears in her eyes – the day is especially touching for her family.
Dauphinais’ son, Patrick Jr., or P.J. Dauphinais, is serving on an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean with the U.S. Navy, providing air support in Afghanistan. Suzanne Dauphinais’ husband and father are also war veterans.
“It’s important for everyone to remember the cost of freedom,” she said. “Without our veterans, America will never be what it’s always been, or what it should always be.”
About 150 people came to the event, which was put on the by local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10721. When asked how many in the crowd were veterans, nearly half raised their hands. Christine Scanlan, Eagle County’s member in the state house of representatives, said the event is the largest Veteran’s Day event in her district.
While the day was about remembering and honoring veterans, it was also a local celebration. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars members and county commissioners had worked hard to get their hands on a piece of the Pentagon that broke off during the September 11 terrorist attacks, and Wednesday was the day they unveiled the 700-pound piece of limestone, said Pat Hammon, community service officer for Post 10721.
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Buddy Sims, a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and a Freedom Park Memorial Committee member, told the crowd the story of how Eagle County got its piece of the Pentagon.
The county commissioners wrote a letter to the secretary of defense about four years ago asking for a piece of the Pentagon debris. The county got its wishes, but someone had to personally pick it up in Washington. Sims flew there with his wife and got a rental truck.
After more than two hours getting through security, the couple realized they needed help picking the limestone up. They called Colorado’s members in Congress to send over staff members to help.
“We picked it up and drove it to Colorado,” he said.
Former county commissioner Tom Stone said it’s about time the stone got placed at the Freedom Park memorial after four years in storage. He said volunteer work from people like Tab Bonidy, president of Tab Associates architects, to get the memorial in place “really warms your heart.”
Honoring the sacrifice that veterans have made for America stood out as the underlying theme of the event – the Pentagon piece was just a part of that.
“Through sacrifice is the only way we can be America,” Suzanne Dauphinais said.
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org