ISHPEMING — Clear skies and warm sun framed a solemn event held at the Ishpeming Cemetery this morning.
Members of numerous local veterans organizations gathered to honor their fallen comrades for Memorial Day. The service paid respect to those killed in action while serving in World War One through modern-day conflicts. With the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall heading to Marquette in less than a month, the war in Vietnam was on the minds of many in attendance.
“I served 25 months in Vietnam. I lost sixteen of my friends over there. Not only Memorial Day, but every day for me is a struggle just to get over that,” said Larry Collister, Honor Color Guard Commander for the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 380. “Every Memorial Day is just – it’s heart-wrenching for a lot of Vietnam Veterans. A lot of them don’t even participate because it brings back too many memories.”
Despite the powerful memories, numerous veterans and citizens alike came to the cemetery to thank the innumerable soldiers who lost their lives.
Collister added, “We lost 58,000. World War II was over 480,000. Iraq and Afghanistan – six, seven thousand young men who have given their lives. I mean, for what? For freedom. That’s why we’re here [on] Memorial Day, and we like to pay tribute to those who have given their life.”
One of the many highlights of the morning was the twelve-step folding of the flag traditionally done at Military Honor ceremonies. The Boy Scouts of America assisted veterans with the event.