The Ely Times
The United States is blessed with citizens who so bravely served, fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice, their life. People across the county gathered at the courthouse park on Memorial Day to remember all of the fallen soldiers.
The ceremony was hosted by the American Legion White Pine Post 3 and the VFW James Jewell Post 3547. There were several guest speakers who spoke of remembrance on Memorial Day, includig County Commissioner Richard Howe, Ely Mayor Melody VanCamp, Ken Curto, Post 3 Commander, Jesse Cox and Ed Sturgess, VFW Commander.
VanCamp spoke of her grandfather, James Edgar VanCamp, who was shipped to France in 1917 to fight in the war. He was a private in the 32nd company 20th engineer and was in the front lines using a portable lumber saw making planks for the trenches in France.
She noted they spent much of his time in the trenches battling the war. During his stay in France, he friended a tavern owner and his family. They became lifelong friends.
They remained friends from 1917 to 1965 when James passed away. The mayor read a letter from July 12, 1950, to her grandfather, “Our dear American friend, dear Edgar do you still remember us?”
The letter went on to explain the hardship his friends in France had faced, noting how much destruction took place and how many lives had been taken. They ended their letter writing, “Remember we love you and all your family, we are your French friends.”
Curto addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out to honor the fallen soldiers.
“They still speak to us, listen quietly and you can hear them, remember their voices and conversations you had before they made their last major devotion to this nation, and even if you are not a gold star family member, a battle buddy, friend or relative, all you have to do is look around and see their legacy.”
Curto spoke of how more than 1 million U.S. heroes have had their lives cut short from fighting in wars, from the American Revolution to the war in Afghanistan.
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day — Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, whereas Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. Military veterans.
Songs such as America the Beautiful and God Bless America were sang by the White Pine Community Choir, and the Cheat Grass Brass band performed a prelude of songs before the event, and one trumpet player, Cal Henley, somberly performed Taps during the laying of the wreaths by the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary.
The crowd with children as small as 2 years of age, and veterans in their early 80s paused to listen to the rifles fire, during the Ceremonial Rifle Volley performance silencing the crowd as they paid their respects to all fallen soldiers near and far.
Curto continued on “It is us, Americans gathered in a free society, unified with the common purpose to honor uncommon bravery. Regardless of the place or the war they fought, the purity of their sacrifice is without question.
“Young men and young women lost their lives in order to make the freedom, that is possible today. All these brothers and sisters who made these ultimate sacrifice for this nation will be forever in our hearts.”