Remembering the fallen

Yukon Memorial Day ceremony commemorates those who made the ultimate sacrifice

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American Legion Post 160 Chaplain Jerry Stafford and U.S. Army Lt. Col. (ret) Rick Cacini lower the flag to half-staff during a Monday Memorial Day service held at Yukon Cemetery. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

By Traci Chapman
Managing Editor

For American veterans, Memorial Day is much more than a holiday – it’s a solemn remembrance of those who came before them, those they served with and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.

That was why the ceremony held Monday at Yukon Cemetery and hosted by American Legion Post 160 remained so important, years after many of those interred there passed into history, Commander Eddie McFadden said.

Yukon American Legion Post 160 Commander Eddie McFadden addresses the crowd during the Memorial Day ceremony held at Yukon Cemetery. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

“It’s a sacred day when we can feel the almost visible presence of those who’ve gone before,” he said. “We remember our comrades and friends, family members and those we didn’t know but who fought for our freedoms.”

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The ceremony featured a reading of the names of those interred at both Yukon and Frisco cemeteries – 1,602 men and women who either died in combat or after their service, the commander said. Several individuals participated in that effort – and for some who read those names, it was intensely personal. Among those laid to rest were fathers and brothers, grandfathers, friends and colleagues.

Former Yukon Mayor Larry Taylor plays “Taps” during Monday’s Memorial Day event. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

Among those honored were several instances of members of the same family, a stark reminder of the cost of freedom and liberty, Daughters of the American Revolution Fort Reno Chapter Regent Nicky Howell said.

“It’s something we need to teach our children about – the way so many have sacrificed for all we have,” she said. “The fact you hear these names and know that people have lost their father, their brothers – I’m not so sure many of us think of that.”

The history of Memorial Day has been a way to thank those who chose to put themselves in harm’s way for something better. It’s something that goes back to the battlefields of the Civil War, to World Wars I and II, Vietnam, the gulf wars and more, McFadden said. Veterans buried in Yukon Cemetery go back to the Civil War; some of those named Monday died as recently as this year.

Daughters of the American Revolution Fort Reno Chapter Regent Nicky Howell was one of several people who read off the names of 1,602 former servicemen and women laid to rest in Yukon and Frisco cemeteries, during a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by American Legion Post 160. (Photo by Traci Chapman)

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