Aspen Memorial Day gathering cancelled, but we will remember

Dear friends of the Pitkin County Veterans Memorial,

It is with sadness that we will not be gathering on Memorial Day in 2020 due to the COVID -19 pandemic. This is the first time in 33 years that this community event will not be held. The Pitkin County Veterans Memorial Board (Dan Glidden, Gunny Perigo, Palmer Hood, Ryan Gentry, Tom Buesch and Dick Merritt), thank you for your participation in years past to make the event a success.

Much appreciated! We could not have done it without our honor guard (Gunny Perigo/ Palmer Hood); reading of “In Flanders Fields” by Tom Buesch; vocalist Jeannie Walla, our “Norwegian Nightingale”; trumpet “Taps” by Dick Sundeen; memorial wreath presentation by the Cub Scouts; “America the Beautiful “ sung by our Brownie Girl Scout Troop; Reading of our KIA by Darryl Grob; MC by Dan Glidden; candle lighting by Nancy Bosshard; and patriotic speeches by Charlie Hopton (Western Slope Veterans Coalition) and Paul Andersen (Huts for Vets).

Many thanks to Fred Venrick and Aspen Elks Lodge for sponsoring the annual Memorial Day BBQ after the ceremony over the years. We hope we can all be together again on Memorial Day 2021.

Our veterans are most grateful to the Pitkin County commissioners for supporting us in the reconstruction of the handsome Veterans Memorial rededicated in 2018, where we can have a place to heal.

American flags will be placed on veterans graves in Aspen and Basalt cemeteries by Jim Markalunas, Dan Glidden, and Dick Merritt in memory of their service to our country. Be sure to remember to wear your VFW Buddy Poppy on the 25th! John Masters, director of Grassroots Community TV, has supported our veterans over the years by playing local veterans interviews on Memorial and Veterans Day. This year, John will be presenting the interviews of our deceased veterans over the last 13 years, which number 28. They shall not be forgotten.

The traditional memorial wreath will be posted at 11 a.m. in silence and reverence by our Honor Guard. (There will be no spoken words during this solemn two-minute event).

Dick Merritt