Memorial Day events set in Farmington, Shiprock

Reading, motorcycle ride among events planned Monday

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
The Upper Fruitland Color Guard performs a Memorial Day flag-folding ceremony for Joanne Benally in honor of her husband, Harrison Benally, a Navajo Code Talker, on May 30, 2015.

FARMINGTON — Several Memorial Day events in San Juan County will honor military personnel who gave their lives during their service.

Julio Garcia, honor guard manager for the Farmington Veterans of Foreign War Post 2182, said the group will honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in a ceremony at 9 a.m. Monday at Greenlawn Cemetery, 1606 N. Dustin Ave., in Farmington.

The group also will visit the Vietnam Veterans Park, 3801 N. Butler Ave., at 9:30 a.m. then participate in a Memorial Day service at Memory Gardens Cemetery.


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"We honor all veterans, and our goal in life is to not celebrate their death but their lives," Garcia said.

Members of the Aztec VFW Post 334 also will visit Memory Gardens, followed by a visit to the All Veterans Memorial Park in Berg Park and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Butler Avenue.

The Memorial Day Service at Memory Gardens Cemetery, 6917 E. Main St., will start at 11 a.m.

The event will include a reading of "The American's Creed" by the Desert Gold Chapter of the Daughters of the National Society of the American Revolution, the placing of a wreath by the Farmington VFW Post 2182, a dove release and a speech by U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., according to the agenda.

There will be a motorcycle ride at 9:30 a.m. from Four Corners Harley-Davidson, 6520 E. Main St., to Memory Gardens.

Heinrich also will visit the Healing Field at the football field for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington. The field has been displaying American flags since Friday in honor of military personnel.

There will be a closing ceremony at 5 p.m. for the display with speakers and a roll call of residents who were killed in action.

On the Navajo Nation, the Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter Veterans Group will have a service and host a flag refolding ceremony at the Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Veterans Memorial Complex in Burnham.

Group Commander Leon Spencer said the event starts at 10 a.m. followed by the refolding ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

The Shiprock Chapter Veterans Organization will honor fallen military personnel at the Shiprock Chapter house. The event starts at 9 a.m. and includes the posting of colors, a moment of silence, a flag song, entertainment and recognition of the military branches and Gold Star Mothers, according to the agenda.

Lester Light, commander of the veterans organization, said this is the fourth year the group has arranged the event in Shiprock.

"It brings families together," he said.

Light, who also serves as the senior commander for the Shiprock VFW 9517 Post, said the group will place flags at half-staff at 6:30 a.m. at the Shiprock Veterans Cemetery.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.