A solemn ceremony Monday at the Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery honored fallen veterans.
The ceremony was conducted by the Delfido Gonzales Chapter 2528 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Ron Wilmot, who represents U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-New Mexico), read a statement from Lujan that said the ceremony this year was marred by news of service delays for veterans seeking treatment at Veterans Administration health facilities. Lujan’s statement said such treatment should never be allowed.
Tucumcari City Commissioner John Mihm, a veteran, said the ceremony was a fitting way to honor veterans who have served their country.
Fred Porter, commander of VFW Post 2528 said that veterans’ service had “made us their debtors.”
Because of the veterans, he said, “Our flag flies over free people.”
Chaplain Robert Prieto prayed that the U.S. continues to be a land of “freedom, peace and righteousness.”
At a luncheon following the ceremony, Julian Vargas, a sixth grader at Tucumcari Middle School, read his prize-winning essay.
“We’re called patriots because we don’t give up,” he said. “We get up and fight again.”
To be patriotic, he said, “is to give to the community.”
To keep the nation free, he said, Americans must keep up “a passion for where we live.”