Mayor Matt Hall fondly remembers the 2019 Memorial Day ceremony at Cody Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park.
It was pouring rain, and he extended an umbrella over the head of the speaker, a veteran, who spoke about the sacrifices made by those Americans who never came home.
Despite the weather, people showed up, forming a semicircle opposite the speakers and the monuments, a small sacrifice to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country.
More than 10% of Cody residents are veterans, much higher than the national average, and for many of them, we know Memorial Day means more than three days off and a BBQ. It’s a time to remember those no longer here to enjoy the freedoms we all have thanks to their sacrifices.
But we all should remember, whether we have any connection to the military or not, and around here we do it better than most. Even last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people gathered in the morning at Riverside Cemetery as the VFW paid respects, after placing flags on the graves of service members who had died.
That afternoon the city held a small ceremony at the incredible Cody Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park off the Greybull Highway to honor those whose names are etched into the stone of the monuments.
Those events returned this year, and we are glad to live and work in a town so appreciative of those who have sacrificed for our safety.
This year, we thought of no better way of honoring them than to publish all the names of Wyoming soldiers, sailors, airmen and others, men and women from around the state who answered the call and gave their last full measure. You can see these names in last Thursday’s paper.
So, while we all enjoy the weekend, let’s take a few minutes to look at the names, to look at how many there are, and thank them.
Canadian surgeon John McCrae said it better than we could in 1915. After the Second Battle of Ypres during World War I, he wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields”:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.