Hundreds gather on Memorial Day in Truckee to honor those who died |

Hundreds gather on Memorial Day in Truckee to honor those who died

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day, honoring military personnel who died in the Civil War. Yet, World War I marked another major conflict, with the holiday expanding to include all American military personnel who died in war. In 1971, it became a federal holiday.

Also on Monday, Tahoe City Boy Scout Troop 266 honored veterans with special commemorative Memorial Day Service on Monday at Trails End Cemetery. The ceremony included inspirational readings, recognition of veterans in attendance, a multi-gun fired salute, and playing of “Taps.”

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Memorial Day is a day to recognize, honor and mourn those in the armed forces who gave their lives to protect this country and its citizens’ way of life.

That was a recurring message throughout Monday’s ceremony at Sierra Mountains Cemetery in Truckee, with hundreds of local officials, residents and veterans in attendance.

“All Americans should take a moment from their day of celebration and leisure to reflect on the brave sacrifices of those who have given their lives for this great nation,” said Alicia Barr, mayor of Truckee. “… Memorial Day means different things to different people, but at the heart of it all it means we should honor those who have fought and died for all that we hold dear — our way of life.”

More than 1 million Americans have died in the nation’s wars, extending from the Revolutionary War (April 1775 to September 1783) to the War on Terror (October 2001 to present).

“We are able to pursue our happiness because our freedom rests on the foundation of sacrifice, a foundation of terrible sacrifice,” said Richard Anderson, Nevada County District 5 supervisor. “… Perhaps the surest way to honor our dead is to live our lives as fully, as generously, as lovingly and as joyfully as we can.”

Roughly 200 veterans are buried at Sierra Mountains Cemetery, said Sharon Pace Arnold, chair of the Truckee Cemetery District Board of Trustees, with those headstones marked by a miniature American flag.

A prayer and a moment of silence was performed at Monday’s ceremony in honor of those departed.

In addition, the Civil Air Patrol Tahoe-Truckee Squadron performed a presentation of the colors, and the Mountain Belles sang a medley of patriotic songs.

“We’re gathered here on Memorial Day 2015 to pay tribute to those men and women who honorably served in the armed services in the defense of our country,” said Edmund Czerwinski, vice chair of the Truckee Cemetery District Board of Trustees. “It doesn’t matter to me if they were in actual combat or not, they all had a duty to perform and made sacrifices of all kinds to fulfill that duty. Some paid the ultimate price; others paid a heavy physical and/or mental price.

“To all you valiant warriors, I say rest in peace. You’ve earned it.”

Call 530-587-6553 to learn more about the Truckee Cemetery District and Sierra Mountains Cemetery.

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