Portales honors fallen

By Darrell Todd Maurina

Light rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the people who turned out Monday morning for the memorial day ceremonies in Portales and Clovis.
Portales American Legion Post 31 Commander Joe Blair said about 100 people turned out for the Memorial Day observance at the Portales Cemetery.
Retired Methodist pastor Rev. Farrell Odom emphasized the importance of educating the youth.
“He talked mostly about veterans and the wars we’ve had,” Blair said. “Some people have lost sight of what Memorial Day is for. Many young people have no idea about World War I or World War II or Korea or Vietnam. We need to instill in them that freedom is not free.”
An earlier ceremony in Portales conducted by the United Daughters of the Confederacy also went well.
“They have about 20 people and they recognize the deceased 26 Confederate veterans they have out there, and a couple of ladies do a reading about the Civil War and close with taps,” Blair said.
“With weather like it was early, it went really well,” Blair said. “It was cold and the wind was blowing, but considering all that it went really well.”
About 100 people showed up for a service in Clovis at the Mission Garden of Memories cemetery.
Conveying the importance of Memorial Day to a younger generation was also the theme for the speaker, Chief Master Sgt. James Randall of Cannon Air Force Base.
“We can keep the sacrifice that has been made alive and real — not, God forbid, to glorify war — but to make sure the next generation knows and understands the price paid by those who came before them,” Randall told the assembled audience at Mission Garden of Memories cemetery. “Ladies and gentlemen, the sacrifice made by those laid to rest and in veterans’ homes across this nation demands that we teach our children to remember what they did for us. If we don’t, shame on us!”
Randall said too many Americans today use the term “hero” too readily.
“There are things greater than our own self interests, that freedom is not free and that it is the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who gave their lives that are the real heroes,” Randall said. “We must let them know that all we enjoy today was bought and paid for by these ordinary people who made extraordinary sacrifices, not because they wanted to be heroes, not because they had a death wish, but because they realized that there are things that are more important than self, things like liberty and justice and basic human rights.”
“It is frightening to consider what might have been if these courageous men and women would have put themselves first instead of their duty,” Randall said.