Late Monday morning four men from Tucumcari’s VFW Post 2528 officially lowered the flag to half-mast. Their salute to the flag signaled the beginning of the Memorial Day ceremony to honor men and women in the U.S. armed forces.
Those who have served in the military and families who have lost loved ones and who have loved ones currently serving in the milary gathered to recognize their service in the armed forces on Monday at the veterans memorial at Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery.
Small flags decorated the tombstones throughout the cemetery marking the graves of veterans.
Jerene and Mac McCord were one of the couples in the small crowd who had come for the ceremony.
“I come every year. My dad served as an officer in the navy for 25 years. And I was a driver who hauled military supplies. We support all of our vets,” said Mac McCord who had come earlier to help set out the flags on headstones.
At the ceremony VFW officers placed flowers and a wreath on the memorial, and VFW chaplains remembered fallen soldiers in prayer.
The Memorial Day weekend also marked the holiday when many family members set aside time to bring fresh flowers to loved ones graves.
On Sunday, at the graveside of David P. Lujan, his widow, Esther, daughter, Cassandra, and grandsons, D.J. 7, and Dillon, 7, placed a small flag and arranged flowers.
David Lujan served in the U.S. Army for 10 years, returned to Tuucmcari and later died from complications following a liver transplant, said Esther Lujan.
The young couple met in Tucumcari and were married in 1976, she said.
The Lujan family comes to the gravesite each week after church.
“It makes us feel closer to him,” Esther Lujan said. The kids remember and the grandkids come out to the see the grave, and they learn about their grandfather. It’s our tradition not to forget.”
Asked about his grandfather, Dillon said, “He’s in heaven with the angels.”