Remember the fallen

VFW pays tribute to warriors, pledges help for the living

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Linley Leonard and former Sgt. Jim Logan lay a wreath during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Mancos.


As in cemeteries and ceremonies all over the country, the Mancos community gathered in Cedar Grove Cemetery to remember the fallen warriors.

"We speak with one voice, with shared admiration," said VFW Post Commander David Johnson.

Johnson voiced a commitment to the crowd of about 50 people, gathered, not just to remember the heroes who paid the ultimate price, but to be determined to help veterans who may be homeless or struggling in other ways.

"We want to honor the dead, and we want to help the living," he said.

The ceremony included a brief but poignant poem adapted to reflect the current needs of veterans.

"Men and women who have fought our wars are seeking their benefits to heal their scars," read Bob Sanders, an Air Force veteran.

"Promises made are now forgotten," he concluded.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently embroiled in a scandal over claims that patients may have died waiting for appointments at the VA hospital in Phoenix, the Associated Press reported earlier this month. At a Colorado VA hospital, employees were told to falsify records to make it seem as though patients were seeing the doctor within a timely window, the AP said.

The ceremony was attended by many local veterans, including Cortez resident Floyd Norris, a retired Navy Chief who served in the South Pacific during World War II and in Vietnam.

"It's very important to honor vets and to honor some very close friends," he said.

During Vietnam, he served in the South China Sea.

Johnson expressed his gratitude to Norris and all the experienced officers who served during Vietnam when he was serving in his 20s.

"They continue to serve, until they end their career, if for no other reason to look after young pups like me," he said about the officers in Vietnam.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Sandra Valencia hopes Memorial Day serves to remind people of current conflict.

"It's a good way to remember there are still people in harms way," she said.

VFW Chaplain and retired Army Staff Sgt. Sandra Valencia reads a prayer during a Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery. Enlargephoto

Felix Monteagudo/For The Mancos Times

VFW Chaplain and retired Army Staff Sgt. Sandra Valencia reads a prayer during a Memorial Day ceremony at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Members of the Montezuma County VFW Post fire a ceremonial salute. Enlargephoto

Felix Monteagudo/For The Mancos Times

Members of the Montezuma County VFW Post fire a ceremonial salute.

Members of the Montezuma County VFW Post salute as Taps plays on the chimes. Enlargephoto

Felix Monteagudo/For The Mancos Times

Members of the Montezuma County VFW Post salute as Taps plays on the chimes.