By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Over 150 Quay County residents attended the Memorial Day ceremony Monday at the Logan Cemetery, where the memories of 15 recently departed local veterans and other local veterans were honored, along with the sacrifices of all veterans, active duty, prisoners of war and missing in action to date.
American Legion Post 77 Commander Garnett Duncan, welcomed and thanked the crowd for attending the ceremony to honor the brave men and woman who have served in the military, continued to serve and have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“This is not a day for barbecues or an extra day off of work,” Garnett said. “It is a day for honoring our troops and our veterans.”
While the ceremony honored veterans and active duty personnel, part of ceremony honored P.O.W. /M.I.A. soldiers still unaccounted for and continuing efforts for their release and the repatriation of their remains. A small table with a chair draped with the black P.O.W./M.I.A. banner paid tribute to prisoners and the missing.
Post 77 Chaplain Randy Bruhn explained significance of the table and the purpose of the ceremony.
“It is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms,” he said. “The empty place represents military and civilian Americans still unaccounted for.”
Garnett then introduced David Babb, Village of Logan mayor, who recognized special veterans, and active duty personnel.
“As I look out at the crowd, it warms my heart to see so many people here to honor our those who have served and continue to serve,” Babb said
Babb said he did not think there was another town in the state that had such a large number of people who take time out of their holiday weekend to pay tribute to veterans and active duty personnel.
“I was asked to introduce local dignitaries,” Babb said. “As far as I am concerned our local dignitaries are the veterans and soldiers here with us today, including Alfred A. Haws, a survivor of the Bataan Death March.”
American Legion Department Commander of New Mexico, Paul L. Espanoza was the event’s special guest speaker.
“I want to thank every veteran for the service they have done as well as the wounded warriors, disabled veterans and those still serving in active duty for all they have done and continue to do to give us the freedom we have today,” Espanoza said.
Espanoza said it is important to have ceremonies such as Memorial Day to always remember the price of freedom and the men and woman who have paid the ultimate price for that freedom, as well as veterans who have answered the call to serve and are still with us.
Wreaths were then placed to honor American Legion Post 77 and 19, Auxiliary Unit 77, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 77, Fraternal Order of the Eagles 3526, local law enforcement and fire agencies and area churches.
The ceremony concluded with a dedication ceremony to locally departed veterans, whose names will be added to a memorial wall at Logan Cemetery.
As the names were read a bell was rung and a black balloon was released in honor of their memory, followed by the playing of Taps.
The departed Veterans honored honored were:
William (Bill) Winchell
J.E. (Jim) Gardner
F.E. (Foye) Dudley
T.O. (Slim) Carter