Veterans and families gather for Memorial Day services

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 4:23 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Veterans and families across the nation gather together to commemorate Memorial Day to honor those service men and women who gave their all in the service of our country.

The Fleet Reserve Association Colorado West Branch 244 held their annual Navy Wreath Laying ceremony on the banks of the Colorado River at the Blue Heron boat dock in Grand Junction.

“It’s a ceremony that we do every year in honor of our departed comrades,” said branch president Bud Johnson. “It’s not just for Navy people and Marine or coast guard. It’s also Army and Air Force and we feel it an honor to come down and do this thing.”

Johnson himself is a 26-year Navy veteran and said he was part of a Navy air crew. He served as a flight engineer on a transport aircraft, racking in more than 12,000 flight hours.

The annual ceremony includes a 21-gun salute, a bell-ringing with the names of the fallen being read aloud and the wreath laying in the Colorado River, which Johnson said is a symbol of a sea burial.

“To be able to keep on doing this, it’s an honor,” said Johnson. “It’s something that we just feel, we feel obligated to do it and it is an honor to do it.”

Mesa County Sheriff, Todd Rowell attended the ceremony as the keynote speaker. Rowell spoke of his time as a marine having joined the Marine Corps as an 18-year-old.

“At the time I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” said Rowell. “Over the next four years, I learned so much about leadership, comradery and teamwork. But more importantly, I learned the sacrifices of those that came before me. “Today we remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

At the end of the ceremony there was also a moment of silence held, for the 21 people who lost their lives in the shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

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