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Local News | Longmont-area Memorial Day ceremonies thank veterans for their service

Daily Times-Call - 5/28/2024

May 27—The Longmont community paid respects to departed U.S. military veterans at Memorial Day services on Monday.

Ceremonies were held Monday morning throughout the Longmont area at Stephen Day Park, Foothills Gardens of Memory and Mountain View Cemetery. At each location, members of the American Legion Post 32, the Longs Peak VFW Post 2601 and other local organizations hung wreaths in honor of the soldiers who gave their lives in military service.

Roughly 200 people attended the Mountain View ceremony. Guests gathered in front of a half-staff American flag in the middle of the cemetery, many dressed in red, white, and blue colors for the holiday.

"We appreciate you taking the time to be here on what is traditionally the kickoff of summer," Post 32 commander Ralph Bozella told the crowd. "Instead of being somewhere else, you know the value of this day. You know the value of your freedom."

Opening and closing prayers at the ceremonies were led by Post 32 chaplain Ron Wunsch.

"We gather here at Mountain View Cemetery in Longmont because we love this land," Wunsch said. "We remember those who have died to secure our right to freedom, and the gifts of liberty and justice for all."

The Mountain View ceremony included remarks from guest speaker Jim Gates, a U.S. Air Force veteran and assistant chaplain for Post 32. Gates spoke on the history of Memorial Day, explaining that the day emerged after the Civil War as a solemn time to mourn the loss of Union and Confederate soldiers alike.

"It was a gesture of healing and reconciliation in a land ripped apart by conflict," Gates said.

Eight wreaths were presented by representatives of both posts, as well as by members of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Longmont Elks and Moose lodges.

"As long as there are veterans, the benevolent and protective order of Elks will never forget them," said Allen Lenort with the Longmont Elks Lodge.

Longmont Moose Lodge member John Carter, who hung the final wreath on Monday, said he was deeply honored to represent the Lodge.

"Looking out here at all the veterans, I personally would like to say thank you for your sacrifices," Carter told the crowd.

After a rifle salute, Bozella invited the attendees to visit Post 32 and raise the flag to full-staff — the culmination of the day's memorial activities.

"For you, our patriotic community, we thank you for your service," Bozella told guests. "You care, and you're here."

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(c)2024 the Daily Times-Call (Longmont, Colo.)

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