We support veterans because their stories are a part of us


Craig garnett

YesWe could anticipate the answer before the question was asked: Why are you at the ceremony today?

“We have loved ones buried here. Four generations of our family have served in the military.

A father who stood guard on the Aleutian Islands during WWII and nearly drowned, an uncle who helped lead the German Army from the English Channel to Berlin with Patton’s 3e the army, and a cousin who died with the Marines in Vietnam. These are just a few of the stories we heard on Saturday morning at the Wreaths Across America ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery.

There were many more untold stories, as about a hundred people came to pay their respects, listen to Veterans Duty Officer Lalo Zamora describe the virtues and challenges faced by veterans, and finally, help lay wreaths on more than 600 graves, even as the rain-bearing north wind whipped uninvited to the ceremony.

It was truly a heartwarming morning, from the inspired welcome by Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell, the display of colors by Uvalde High School NJROTC cadets, Reverend Mike Marsh’s prayer for peace to the latest reading from David Alonzo Sanchez’s “Taps” – whose dismal notes floated over the graves of veterans like a warm and grateful caress.

At the end, the participants deployed through the cemetery and carrying armfuls of aromatic balm wreaths, placed them in a constant relay. The lucky few who had umbrellas soon found them blown over by the gusts of wind, but no one gave up. We had announced that the ceremony would be held “rain or shine,” and Judge Mitchell incorporated that fact into his opening remarks (offered while the sun was shining), saying it was fine because veterans have been used, whether it be “rain or shine”. “

Placing the wreaths was solemn and yet happy work, especially when you stood before the grave of a veteran whose face you clearly remembered. At one point, our classifieds manager, Norma Ybarra, shouted into the howling wind. “Look, it’s Cole Cash. You remember Cole.

Of course, Vietnam veteran and longtime sidekick to our late driver Robert Peebles. I wanted to scream, “And this is George Wentz”, but I didn’t. I was too busy remembering George’s big smiley face and the fact that he was a veteran of the US Army. And reminiscent of a lunch meeting long ago when Rotary Club members had their cholesterol checked, and George’s count was ridiculously low. This despite being a giant man who confessed to eating half a gallon of ice cream every night.

A day for new memories and revisiting old ones. A day to be dazzled by the generosity of spirit and time of the Uvaldéens. And one afternoon to be terribly proud of our press staff who volunteered to make the wreaths project.

Everyone Participated: Melissa Federspill insisted that we sponsor the event and then served as coordinator, with the help of fellow writer Julye Keeble. The rest of the editorial staff, editor-in-chief Meghann Garcia and sports editor James Volz, have literally done a lot of work. Many other volunteers including Melissa’s partner Gene Graves, Meghann’s mother Rose, Norma and my wife, Melissa, provided life-saving help on Saturday.

None of this would have happened without the massive support of the people and companies who purchased 612 crowns. Thank you. May we always remember our veterans – in the New Year and beyond. Always worry about those “who will have endured the battle”.

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