Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County. On November 11, 2016 at 11 a.m. a group of veterans gathered at the Gilpin County Recreation Center Veterans Memorial to honor all veterans from all wars who have fought for their country.
It was a bright sunshine filled day, unusual for this time of year, but a welcome change from the sideways snow and skin scraping wind of past Veterans Days. The previous day, Gilpin School students had put on a heart-warming, patriotic-based performance for the veterans. On Friday, the veterans made the presentations to and for each other.
Theodoro Dominguez, representing the American Legion, introduced the people who made the ceremony possible and then, after a moment of silence and the playing of Taps, seven vets hoisted long guns to their shoulders three times, the shooting of a 21-gun volley that echoed over the meadowland around the rec center. Veterans Richard Dominguez, Paul Colorado and Sandy Hoffman have passed away in the past year. The 21-gun salute was made by James Murkland, Bob Masslich, John Revelle, Lewis Wagner, Howard Roche, Paul Bennett and Roy Blake.
Veteran Doug Lupo led the group in a prayer and then gave a short history of how Veteran’s Day became a national holiday. He said President Harry Truman praised the work of the service men, saying what they did was vital to their country. “But that does not end with the military but with the great stones upon which a great nation is built.
James Murkland announced that his father, Fred, had passed away after serving in the Navy and he read from a letter sent to Fred from President Truman.
James said his dad instilled in him the ideal of not glorifying strength, but to find strength through peace.
One of the veterans told the group that four kids had given him thank you letters on Thursday. “That meant so much to me. I damn near cried.”
The letter from president Truman said:
Frederick William Murkland Junior,
To you who answered the call of your country and served in its Armed Forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy, I extend the heartfelt thanks of a grateful Nation. As one of the Nation’s finest, you undertook the most severe task one can be called upon to perform. Because you demonstrated the fortitude, resourcefulness and calm judgment necessary to carry out that task, we now look to you for leadership and example in further exalting our country in peace.
(Published in the November 17, 2016 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)