Vietnam War veteran Mike Padilla: 'Memorial Day isn't just about honoring veterans'

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Former Aztec Mayor and Vietnam War veteran Mike Padilla encouraged people to take time out of their day each day to honor men and women killed in action and to remember their sacrifices.

Padilla was the guest speaker at the annual Memorial Day service on May 27 at Memory Gardens.

“Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans,” he said. “It’s about honoring those who didn’t come home.”

Serenity and Company, which manages Memory Gardens, put on and paid for the Memorial Day service. The cemetery manager Elizabeth Smith and her staff organized the event. Various organizations such as Desert Gold Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution help the staff each year.

The organization's State Regent Diane Halvorsen said it is a chance to honor veterans.

“They do not get enough recognition,” she said.

The memorial included songs, prayers, a recital of “The American’s Creed” and the release of doves.

Serenity and Company Funeral Director Steven Gabaldon spoke about the history of Memorial Day while welcoming people to the service. He said Memorial Day began after the Civil War as a way to remember the those who died.

Galbaldon thanked the veterans who attended.

“You have made our armed forces the most respected in the world,” he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

Support local journalism with a digital subscription:

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated who organized the service.

Mike Padilla speaks, Monday, May 27, 2019, during a Memorial Day service.
A dove flies, Monday, May 27, 2019, after being released during a Memorial Day service.
Flags fly, Monday, May 27, 2019, during a Memorial Day service at Memory Gardens Cemetery.
A wreath is seen while Harmony Brown sings, Monday, May 27, 2019, during a Memorial Day service at Memory Gardens Cemetery.