By Kevin Wilson
Memorial Day represented the sacrifices of millions for some, and the connection to friends and family for others. Those views were shared Monday during Portales’ annual Memorial Day program, held at the city cemetery.
The ceremony was attended by about 30 people, though many were also in the cemetery placing flags by the gravesites of friends and family members.
The sunny Monday morning played host to brief speeches and presentations by people who had their own views on what the holiday meant.
For John Posner, the commander of Cannon Air Force Base, it is a time to reflect on his family’s military history.
“I’m the product of two combat veterans,” Posner said. “I can greatly appreciate the meaning of a day like today.”
Posner said that his father was a combat pilot in World War II, his mother a combat nurse at Normandy. Posner said he recently visited his father in Virginia, and also visited the gravesite of his mother at Arlington National Cemetery.
He said it was an amazing place to be at because of all of the sacrifices represented there, then added that the Portales Cemetery had those same elements.
The Rev. Farrell Odom said “the mightiest, mightiest national” would not be the one with the best stockpile of weapons, but instead “the nation that honors and remembers those who gave their lives to protect that nation’s heritage and values.”
Odom said that more than a million Americans had done just that in more than two centuries of wars. If those men were to line up seven to a row with three feet between each row, Odom said, those men would account for a parade from the Portales city limits to the Clovis city limits.
Midway through the ceremony, Donald Criss came up to read a pair of poems. He joked that Joe Blair of American Legion Post No. 31 calls him up every year and says that he can read whatever he wants, as long as it includes “Flanders Field.”
“He likes the poem for the same reasons as I do,” Criss said. “We learned that poem growing up in grade school. It’s a touching poem.”
Before he read, he reminded those in attendance that as long as there is combat in the world, there will be a necessity to remember those who give their lives.
“We are still fighting in the world,” Criss said. “We’re fighting against terrorism and we have many men and women who are fighting, giving their lives on a daily basis for their country.”