Patriotism alive and well on Memorial Day in Platte County

Mark DeLap/Guernsey Gazette The Guernsey VFW Post 4471 color guard along with the young patriots from the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy stood at parade rest as the fallen veterans of our area were honored for their service and their sacrifice.

GUERNSEY – Services on Memorial Day were conducted at both the Hartville and Guernsey cemeteries and tributes were placed at the Dwyer Cemetery.

Nice crowds adorned each service and in the Guernsey Service a special brigade of boys from the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy were on hand to pay tribute at the service. The young patriots were instrumental in helping VFW Post 4471 set out flags on the individual veteran’s graves and stayed around during the afternoon to help recover those flags.

Although America is living in tumultuous times, it has technically been blessed of late with peace. An unsteady and “walking on eggshells” kind of peace, but certainly a momentary calm. The virus that has attacked us from foreign soil has enlisted us in a battle this generation has never experienced.

The young people who have been born into the new millennium have heard the stories, read the books, watched the documentaries of America at war, but one would wonder where the heart of the young Americans is today, and if, perhaps, patriotism given way to political correctness. Looking at the kids from Cowboy Challenge – all at attention and giving honor to our fallen was a moving sight indeed.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Day ceremonies are a testimony of a country that will not forget its own. The day itself also hopefully reinforces to our young people the holiday is not celebrating the coming of summer or family camping trips to one of our National Parks.

It is a day for education. Set aside to teach our children that we will never forget, nor will we grow so apathetic we don’t fully realize that the bodies in some of those graves didn’t have the luxury to die in their beds in Wheatland or Guernsey or in a nursing facility surrounded by family and friends in Torrington.

These are actual remains of those who took their last breath far away from their home and country. Some coffins filled with bone fragments and body parts because portions of exploded tissue and brain matter became planted in the soil of a hostile and foreign country.

This is not a legend or a tale. This is the graphic nature of Americans at war.

The Veterans come forth at the cemeteries this past week, all over Wyoming. Many now aged and slowed by life, still carrying the shrapnel of memories seared into their minds as they witnessed firsthand that period of America’s infamy.

Looking around, you had to wonder if the family members all knew how fortunate they were they still had a veteran alive to tell the stories.

“With this abundance of freedom, there comes a ton of responsibility,” a young student who opted not to be recognized, said. She not only gets this but proclaims it and should garner the attention of everyone who reads this.

“We have to take care of our country in order to preserve everything that it has to offer,” she continued.

The very fact she spoke of preservation on a day intended to honor and preserve spoke volumes as to this generation’s understanding of the day itself and honoring the price that was paid for our young country to continue.

A profound statement from a young member of this generation will one day rule and reign in America.

And THAT should make us all sleep a little better as snow is even now, falling upon the rooftops under our cowboy hats.

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