Wed, April 01

The Real Memorial Day<br><i>Veterans groups pay respects to Valley's fallen heroes</i>

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Local dentist Ron Wright (left) played taps at both services, seen in this photo at the 9 a.m. Middle Verde Cemetery ceremony. Mayor Mitch Dickinson is to the right.

Generally Memorial Day is now observed on the fourth Monday in May (this year May 26) although local veteran groups continue its observance on the traditional May 30 date.

Representatives from the American Legion Post 93, the Veterans of Foreign War Post 6739, both auxiliaries, and the Sons of the American Legion gathered, as in the past, first at the Middle Verde Cemetery hosted by the Camp Verde VFW. A second service followed at the Clear Creek Cemetery hosted by Camp Verde's American Legion.

Mayor Mitch Dickinson attended both ceremonies, "Freedom is not free," he repeated thanking American veterans for their service to our country and their continued community contributions in Camp Verde.

VFW Auxiliary President Shannon Beck was among auxiliary members placing wreaths and offering words for America's fallen heroes.

"Since those first shots were fired at Lexington and Concord in the Revolutionary War, over one million Americans have died in defense of our liberty and freedom," she told attendees. "On behalf of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, we place this emblem of eternity. Thus do we immortalize the brave deeds of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given their lives on land, on sea and in the air."

The color guard with representatives from both posts presented a traditional gun salute. Chaplain Ralph Verfurth offered prayers and remarks were made by post commanders, Keith Tucker with the American Legion, and VFW's Herb Salmon. As in past years, Rick Brenfleck, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, and Bea Richmond, president of the Clear Creek Cemetery, spoke at the later Clear Creek service, while Kathy Hall led God Bless America followed by lunches at both posts.

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