Joining national cemeteries around the nation, a group of people paid tribute to the veterans laid to rest at Fort Lyon National Cemetery Saturday during the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony.
Wreaths Across America's mission to "'Remember, Honor, Teach' is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies a specified Saturday in December at Arlington, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. We also organize a week of events including international veterans' tributes, ceremonies at state houses and a weeklong 'Veterans Parade' between Maine and Virginia where we stop along the way to spread our message about the importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms."
On Saturday, Fernando Vasquez, cemetery technician at Fort Logan, reminded those in attendance that the "freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price." He said he is blessed to live in a country where Americans have the right to raise their children as they wish, the right to succeed and fail, the right to vote and encouraged everyone to remember "that we are one nation with one flag.
"We are a beacon of liberty to the entire world," Vasquez said.
He also told those veterans in attendance that he was honored to know them and encouraged everyone to say "thank you" when they see a veteran or active member.
Sharon Bulluch of the Seed and Supply Church in Las Animas also expressed her thanks for the veterans and active members serving this country.
"I just want to say how proud I am … look at all of us, we are Americans," she said. "I thank the Lord we can pray in this beautiful country."
Karen VanEgmond of Las Animas has been organizing the local event for eight years. Through fundraising efforts, wreaths are placed on the graves of local heroes.
Participating in the ceremony were Las Animas VFW Post #2411, Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Pueblo; American Legion Post #6; Fort Lyon Post #9212; Ordway Post #94; Rocky Ford Post #8; La Junta Post #9.
Wreaths were placed at Fort Lyon National Cemetery, Las Animas/Bent County Cemetery and Peaceful Valley Cemetery.