Every year members of the local and veteran communities throughout the state gather together to remember the fallen, and the Nevada Office of Veterans Services is honored to participate in the various activities around the state.  This year's Memorial Day activities were among the best I have ever seen.  I was proud to see our involvement and the communities full embrace of this very important American tradition.

In my remarks over the last few weeks leading up to Memorial Day, I focused on what the day meant to veterans in the community.  Although it is often said that many people see the Memorial Day Weekend as a chance to go to the lake, barbecue, and enjoy time away from work, I have found that it is also a day when many veterans and supporters gather.  They gather to honor, to appreciate, and to reflect.  They honor the service of those who have served their country to the fullest degree.  They take time to appreciate the sacrifice of those who gave the last full measure to their country.  And they gather to reflect upon what that sacrifice means.

We tried to do that this week in a number of ways:

On the Monday before Memorial Day, we drove to Elko to honor veteran advocate Gil Hernandez with the Veteran of the Month Award.  Gil was selected by the Veteran Services Commission at the March meeting, and I was pleased with the opportunity to recognize him for all of the hard work he does for the veterans of Nevada, and especially Elko.

Later in the week, I was invited to speak at a ceremony in Gardnerville, where the Main Street Gardnerville team had recently designed, purchased, and placed two new benches dedicated to the Gold Star and Blue Star families in the area.  Many people turned out for the event, and we shared in the opportunity to appreciate those who served and have sacrificed.  You can read more about their efforts here.

Every year the Tahoe Biltmore hosts a full day of activities on Memorial Day, too.  They have a full display of pictures from the Vietnam war, static military displays, and a flyover.  In the evening, they host a dinner and invite all from the community.  It is always a great event, and I look forward to participating in it every year.

KNPR out of Las Vegas conducted an interview about the Veterans Writing Conference that will run sometime this week.  They are always so kind to us in helping to get our word out about our outreach efforts, and this opportunity was no exception.  They will link the online version on this page after it airs.

And, of course, we hosted two of the largest community Memorial Day events in the state at our Northern Nevada Veteran Memorial Cemetery in Fernley and the Southern Nevada Veteran Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.  These days are full of honor and respect to the fallen, and they are incredibly well attended.  Our cemetery staff and volunteers at each location do an absolutely incredible job of taking care of the grounds year round, and Memorial Day is the culmination of their efforts.  I am always pleased at the turnout, but this year was particularly amazing.  Read more info about the northern Nevada event here, and the souther Nevada events here, here, and here

Thank you to everyone who helped make these days so remarkable.