Desert Lawn holds annual Memorial Day observance
MOHAVE VALLEY — Memorial Day: A day to remember those who gave the biggest sacrifice so that Americans can have the freedoms they enjoy on a day-to-day basis.
Desert Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens’ Memorial Day event Monday featured Mohave Valley United Methodist Church Pastor Gene Stouffer giving the opening prayer, and Pamela Baron of Tri-State Military Moms, who reminded people to observe the true meaning of Memorial Day and to remember the Gold Star families who have endured great loss.
Before John Pynakker, president and CEO of Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce, began his speech, he recognized Hildy Angius, Mohave County District 2 supervisor, who was in attendance.
“Memorial Day began in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1968,” said Pynakker, an Army veteran. “It was originally known as Decoration Day, which was a day set aside to honor the brave men and woman who died serving in the United States military.
“To me, that falls well short of what it should be; I think it has a much deeper meaning. To me, it’s a day to think about the tremendous courage it took to volunteer to put your life on the line to protect your fellow Americans’ way of life. The courage it takes to leave your family, travel across the world and risk life and limb so others may not have to go. The bravery you must have to go and fight, knowing that if you come back you may not be the same person.”
Pynakker said that more than 1 million American service members have died in conflicts since 1775 but that doesn’t account for those who were physically and emotionally injured.
“More than 20 veterans a day commit suicide and those are more family, friends and loved ones that we should be mourning for today,” said Pynakker. “Please pray for these heroes who survived the war and returned home and faced uncertainty with their futures.”
Pynnaker said that while people are remembering those fallen, they also should remember the families of those who have fallen: the Gold Star families.
“One of the best ways to honor our fallen comrades is for us to work together to defend our freedom and our American principals,” said Pynnaker. “We cannot allow the erosion of liberties our family members and friends have fought so hard to defend.”
He said that requires thought and action.
“When you see a veteran struggling don’t just shrug it off and continue out with your life,” said Pynnaker. “This person fought so that you may enjoy the liberty in your life; now it’s your turn to serve. Help them to get help. There are a lot of organizations that can help these heroes.”
Pynnaker closed his speech with two quotes.
The first was from Franklin D. Roosevelt who stated, “Those who have long enjoyed the privileges that we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
The second was from United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill who stated, “Never has so much been owed to so few by so many.”
Once the speech concluded, the United Veterans Honor Guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10386 honored the fallen with a rifle salute and taps. Other VFWs who helped make the Memorial Day event at Desert Lawn a possibility were VFW Post 10005, which raised the flags that lined the driveway, and VFW Post 6306, which provided the Buddy Poppies, symbolic of dead and wounded Americans from conflicts throughout the country’s history.