Aspen honors veterans in ceremony
November 11, 2007
A solemn ceremony that has come to define both Veterans Day and Memorial Day in Aspen honored and celebrated local veterans of many stripes.
More than 100 people gathered to watch and take part in the Veterans Day ceremony, which began with a presentation of the colors and laying of the memorial wreath at the memorial next to the Pitkin County Courthouse.
“We owe these people a huge debt of gratitude,” Dan Glidden, a Vietnam veteran, said while veterans of wars from World War II through Iraq stood. “Look at these faces: This is your history, this is our history. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
The first Veterans Day in 1919 (then called Armistice Day) honored those fallen in World War I and marked the end of the war. Other countries also observe Remembrance Day, Veterans Day and Armistice Day.
People were invited to share stories of veterans at the ceremony Sunday. Valley residents, young and old, told of those who have served in the armed forces, others thanked those who have fought, and some acknowledged the hardships of living veterans.
For longtime veterans and for two local Marines who recently returned from Iraq, the day is a time to remember fallen friends and think of the men still serving.
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Sgt. Dave Santini recently returned from eight months in Fallujah, Iraq, and said Veterans Day has given him pause to think of friends and also given him a way to recognize the Marines who came before him.
Staff Sgt. Jake Fryler, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, was a corporal in charge of a three-man fire team. He said the three men serving under him, one of whom joined up with him, were all killed in Iraq.
“I lost a lot of Marines under my command, so I think about them,” he said.
As of Nov. 9, the total military casualties from Afghanistan and Iraq totaled 4,312 service members, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, and 30,205 service members have been wounded in action.
Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is email@example.com