Hundreds gathered at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery under suitably somber skies, flags waving in the cool breeze. There were vets from different eras, different conflicts, in various ways proudly wearing evidence of their service. Many were graying, some bent by age, but standing a little taller today in the company of their comrades, and in honor of those now gone.
There were, as there should be, speeches, prayers, salutes and taps. There were also the private moments, families searching out the gravesite of a loved one, pausing and reflecting.
Thousands of service men and women rest here. Their names reflect the diversity of the country and the state from which they answered their country's call.
For some the cemetery itself is a major connection. Danny Waldrop visited the grave of Dave Parsons. Together they worked to get this cemetery approved and built. For years Dave Parsons attended these ceremonies. Today he's buried here.
It's an emotional trip from as far away as Oregon for Philip Ziegler's family. Ziegler, a World War 2 veteran of several Pacific campaigns, died last November. Three generations of his family came today to leave flowers and reflect on a man who served his country and meant so much to them. "He was a wonderful pop," says son Kenny Ziegler.
Isabel West makes the trip to Fernley from her home in Cold Springs three or four times a week to sit near her husband's grave. Lanny West died almost 2 years ago, leaving Isabel and the grand children they raised. He was a Vietnam vet who spent that war rescuing others receiving the Silver Star. Isabel says he never talked about the incident that won him that medal, nor did he consider himself any different than the other men and women who here.
"I think they're all heroes."
The flowers, the private moments honor each, the day honors all.