Taking Time To Remember in Leadville
10th Mountain Ceremony on Memorial Monday
Memorial Day Weekend is finally upon us, so if your plans include attending a service in Lake County, here are a couple of very meaningful events to consider. On Memorial Monday, May 27, all eyes will be on the 10th Mountain Division monument located atop Tennessee Pass, off Highway 24 West. For the 60th consecutive year, the 10th Mountain Division Foundation will hold their Memorial Day ceremony beginning promptly at 11 a.m. Just half a mile from Ski Cooper, veterans, local Coloradans, descendants and friends of the 10th Mountain Division will gather this Memorial Day, May 27, to honor their fallen comrades of the 10th Mountain Division and the 99th Battalion who lost their lives in combat. The WWII men of the mountain did their advanced ski training in 1940s at Ski Cooper, when it was known as Cooper Hill.
“This is the 60th annual Memorial Day Ceremony honoring those who served in the 10th Mountain Division and all other veterans of America’s wars,” said Trux Dole, 10th Mountain Division Foundation President and grandson of Charles Minot Dole, who is regarded as the father of the division. “We will gather at Tennessee Pass to especially remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the 10th Mountain Division.”
Open to the public, this Colorado Memorial Day tradition is a meaningful and touching event that will remind participants of the sacrifice of our great heroes, and give them the opportunity to see and touch WWII artifacts and equipment provided by the 10th Mountain Living History Group. In addition, soldiers from the 157th Colorado Army National Guard Battalion recently aligned under the 10th Mountain Division will participate in this year’s ceremony along with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York. Because of limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The Lake County High School Band will provide music and the Canyon City Junior ROTC Color Guard will post colors in honor of those that gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.
The Keynote Speaker will be COL (Retired) Matthew J. Fitzgerald, Infantry (Mountain), retired after 30 years of commissioned service with more than half being served in the Mountain Infantry. He currently serves as the President of the New England Chapter, 10th Mountain Division Association. He was the first non-World War II President of the New England Chapter, 10th Mountain Association from 2008 to 2009. He runs Capital Custom Sandblast Company, a monument/memorial sales, setting/installation, lettering, cleaning and repair business in the summer. He works at Jay Peak Ski Resort in the winter.
The WWII 10th Mountain Division was created in Colorado in 1943 and trained at Camp Hale, high in the Rockies, near Leadville. It was the only unit in the history of the United States Army to be organized specifically for mountain and winter warfare. The highly regarded 10th played a major role in the battles that brought about the surrender of the German army in Italy in 1945. After the war, the division was deactivated and many of the veterans went on to create ski resorts across America, including, among others, Vail, Aspen, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Whiteface Mountain in New York State, Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak Ski areas in New Mexico, and numerous others. Veterans of the 10th were instrumental in making skiing a major American winter sport. Reactivated in 1985 and based out of Fort Drum, New York, the 10th Mountain Division has proudly carried the moniker of “the most deployed division in our Army,” and is furthering the division’s legacy. Since 9-11, the Division Headquarters has deployed 12 times equaling almost 14 years and more than 40 brigade size deployments have occurred.
The Tenth Mountain Division Foundation was established in 1958 by WWII veterans of the 10th Mountain Division to memorialize the history and exceptional achievements of the 10th Mountain Division; and to perpetuate its legacy for future generations. The Foundation administers several programs to help wounded warriors and to support higher education. Learn more about the Foundation on its website: www.tenthmountainfoundation.org
If you are interested, please contact the Foundation email address: email@example.com. Readers may also donate with checks made payable to Tenth Mountain Division Foundation, 133 South Van Gordon Street, Ste. 200, Lakewood, CO 80228. It is important to honor fallen soldiers, so please consider making a special effort to attend the Memorial service on Monday or the following one which is being offered on Sunday! They are both very meaningful events for those living in Leadville Today. #NeverForget2019.
Remembering Those Who Served, Sacrificed
On Sunday, May 26 the annual Lake County Memorial Ceremony and the Fallen Heroes Run will take place, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The 2019 Lake County Memorial Day Services will be held again on Sunday, rather than the traditional Memorial Day Monday in order to accommodate those traveling to the event and to encourage more people to attend. The event will be held at the Veterans Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville at 1 p.m.
This year, the Memorial Day program will feature speeches by Navy Seal LCDR Christopher Tidwell and Navy Veteran Dustin Palmer, as well as a musical performance by Army Captain Alex Longo. Representatives from the Leadville Elks Lodge #236 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2 Mile High Post #859 will lay wreaths at the memorials. And as has become tradition, local musicians will include “Amazing Grace” by Leadville Bagpiper Collin McFee and his Mount Massive Pipe Band students. And Zach Coffin will once again close the ceremony out with a sorrowful rendition of “Taps.” There will also be a military fly-over, always a crowd pleaser!
As usual, there are some last-minute twists and turns that always add to this very personal ceremony. This year, as part of the Fallen Heroes Run (see details below) residents and visitors, will also be asked to be on Harrison Avenue as the motorcycle-cade makes its way down Leadville’s main street en route to the ceremony at the Veterans Memorial on Sunday, May 26. The hope is to have American flags of all sizes waving a welcome back to the riders as they complete their journey along Fallen Heroes Highway in honor of those who gave their lives in service to the country. The group plan on a 12:30 p.m. (sharp, so get their early!) rumble down the avenue. So come and hear Harrison Avenue’s own Rocky Mountain thunder as dozens of motorcycles make their journey on to McWethy Drive – named after another fallen Leadville hero: Edgar McWethy. The public is then asked to join the formal ceremony just a few blocks away at the Evergreen Cemetery starting at 1 p.m.
It’s a moving service, and certainly a good reminder of what the day is all about: remembering those who died in active military service. The public is welcome and of course, so are the kids. There’s a lunch following the service at the Elks Lodge at 123 W. 5th Street in Leadville.
Memorial Ride Along Fallen Heroes Highway
The 8th Annual Fallen Heroes Run will take place before the service, starting in Summit County on Sunday morning. The motorcycles and riders will assemble at the Summit County Elks Lodge at 1321 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. Registration is at 10:30 a.m. with the group departing to at 11:45, weather permitting. The ride will travel along Fallen Heroes Highway, aka Highway 91 over Fremont Pass and into Leadville Evergreen Cemetery. A donation of $10 a bike will be accepted with all proceeds going to Lake County Veterans Memorial.
Memorial Day is a time to honor those who died for the freedoms Americans enjoy. Come and show your gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made.