Memorial Day: Traditional ceremony, private moments

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FERNLEY, NV (KOLO) The crowd at the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley seems to grow every year, regardless of weather.

Look around. It's plain to see many, if not most, have been in uniform or have lost someone who served and now numbers among the 10-thousand or so who rest there.

The ceremony itself follows a familiar program, though themes may change year to year.

This year's observance, for instance, took special note of honoring women in the military, an often overlooked group. The theme is long overdue. There are--in fact--more than 500 women vets buried there.

The color guard, the bagpipes, the speeches, the 21-gun salute and of course, Taps are the expected elements. There's comfort and respect in the shared moments of the ceremony.

The quiet private moments that follow, though, are personal and special. Among them, a wife of 57 years spends time at her husband's grave trimming the grass by his marker by hand, taking a handful with her.

Mitzie Summers makes this trip often.

"The feeling inside me is just the same as when I come every day, but it's nice to see all the people here,"

Her husband Bob, a Navy corpsman, served aboard the U.S.S.Yorktown, tending to the health of his shipmates before returning to civilian life, teaching at the university, commanding the local Coast Guard auxiliary and raising, with Mitzie, a family of seven kids.

He died two years ago after spending a life of service, public and private.

"It's not easy," Mitzie says, "but he made the country better in my opinion. In his small little world he did a great job."

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