Under drizzly skies and huddled against the cold, a couple of hundred people gathered at Lone Mountain Cemetery to honor those who served in the armed forces.
Peggy Truttman spent a few quiet moments before the service at her late husband’s grave. Patrick Truttman served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater in World War II. He died in 2002.
“I’m here every year,” she said. “It’s a time to remember all the memories you have through the years and to honor the men who served.”
Truttman herself was in cadet-nurse training. The war ended before she was deployed.
Mary Coker of Gardnerville and her family have made the Memorial Day service an annual family event. Her grandfather Jack Simpson, who died in 2002, was a 21-year Marine Corps veteran.
“We come every year. It’s something we always do to pay respect to the men and women in the military,” she said. “We’re just a very big military family.”
This year’s Memorial Day service had special significance for the family. It’s the first year without her grandmother, who died in November, Coker said. And it’s also the first Memorial Day since her cousin Dalton Simpson joined the Army in September.
Stationed in Fort Polk, La., Dalton was home for a few days. He expects to deploy to Afghanistan in another month.
His visit was kept secret from Coker’s mother, Kim. Shortly before the service, he came out and greeted her with a big hug.
“I miss him a lot,” Kim Coker said, dabbing away tears of joy. “He lived with me quite a while.”
Watching Simpson holding her granddaughter Katie Rose, 2, Kim Coker talked about the significance of Memorial Day.
“I don’t think a lot of Americans really know what these people sacrifice for our freedoms. I’ve seen a lot (of sacrifice).”
Pfc. Simpson was inspired by his grandfather’s military service.
The special speakers, veterans from a variety of wars, spoke about the honor to serve and the ultimate sacrifice made by many.
Lt. Howard Spreeman, a veteran of the Air Force and Pearl Harbor, survivor was helped to the podium. Once there, he removed his jacket to show his T-shirt in honor of the USS Arizona with the names of those who went down with the ship in Pearl Harbor.
“Including a cousin of mine,” Spreeman said.
Lt. Cmdr. David Treinen, U.S. Navy (retired), noted that he had seen many in the audience at the Memorial Day service “time and time again.”
Memorial Day advertising “really kind of bothers me,” he said. “Then I come down here and see you folks” and am encouraged.
Officiant and bagpiper Lt. Cmdr. Robert Bledsaw, USN SCC, recognized two veterans and active participants in past Memorial Day services who had died in the past year: Rich James, with the Air National Guard, and Steven Hays, active in the American Legion Post 56.
Other participants in the Memorial Day Ceremony included Denise Berumen and Carol Dineman, who sang the national anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Seaman Apprentice Spencer Carlson, USN SCC. Dean West, of Berean Christian Ministry lead the invocation and benediction. The 21-gun salute was conducted by members of the Nevada Army National Guard and American Legion, High Desert Post 56.