• May 21, 2024
  • 4:45 PM

Honor July 4th by Visiting Veterans Memorials

By: Chuck N. Baker

As another July 4th Independence Day comes and goes, it is fitting to note one way Nevada honors its military and veterans is by installing memorials in many cities, towns, and remote by-ways. While militaria has been a long-time popular area of collecting, it is not unusual for history buffs to collect photos of military and veterans memorials. Fortunately, the Nevada Department of Veterans Services is currently documenting all memorials within the Silver State and will soon showcase the information on the internet and at a kiosk, located inside the State Library and Archives Building in Carson City.

Veterans and military memorials are like a box of chocolates. When individuals first visit a location, they never know what they’re going to get once they arrive. That’s because memorials come in many shapes, sizes, colors and settings. They range from honoring wars, causes, cities, weapons, aircraft, medals, men, women, groups, ideas and almost anything else related to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and women. It shouldn't be too long before someone suggests a memorial for the recently formed United States Space Force and deservedly so. It represents a milestone in America’s military preparedness. Subjects under consideration might be to honor the date the force was formed, the air base where it is located, the first unit commander or some other point of historical interest. I suggest it will occur within the next 36 months.

As I’ve noted, the Silver State is home to many dozens of memorials. But let’s discuss just a few that are located in Boulder City. The Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery has a memorial garden that contains numerous examples. Some resemble respectable graveyard headstones, some are large and wall-like, a few have sculptures depicting various likenesses of individuals or other recognizable objects and still others are relatively small. All contain verbiage describing reasons for their being.

Vietnam is represented by several memorials. One reads, “This memorial is dedicated in memory of over 58,000 Americans who never returned. 1959 – Vietnam – 1975 – We can never forget. This piece of panel is from ‘The Wall’ in Washington, D.C., and was placed by Vietnam Vets M/C.” The panel includes an engraving of the Vietnam Vets Motorcycle Club.

Women Marines are honored with a memorial that reads, “Sagebrush Chapter Women Marines Association. Semper Fidelis 1943.” It includes an engraving of the association logo and includes the date the organization was founded.

The Coast Guard is set apart with a colorful memorial. A granite grey stone with black engraving reads: “Dedicated to those who have crossed the bar and to those who will follow. Dedicated by the Chief Warrant Officers Association, Silver State Chapter and Chief Petty Officers Association, Las Vegas Mavericks Chapter. 11 November 1998.” The edifice contains two bronze logos. One is from the warrant officers, and one is from the petty officers.

One of the oldest memorials in Las Vegas, hidden in plain sight on Las Vegas Boulevard situated next to a city senior center, was dedicated in 1952. It honors Gold Star mothers and includes the names of local men who lost their lives in combat. It reads in part, “Our hearts hold these names of our heroic dead from Clark County in honored memory. They gave their lives in the service in the wars that peace and freedom might come to all men. God grant them their eternal rest.”

This July 4, it would be especially appropriate for Nevadans to visit memorials and pay tribute to those individuals and institutions that have come before us, and those still standing tall maintaining the vigilance required to keep the nation safe. Friends and family often lay wreaths at the foot of the memorials and keep their shutters busy taking photos to send to others far and wide. For years nations have hoped that wars would end and the need for new memorials would be for naught. Until then, let’s visit and pay homage at those that exist.

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