PUEBLO — At 11:00 am on Memorial Day, the Veteran's Bridge at Pueblo's historic Riverwalk hosted the annual ceremony to honor those who served our country.
“I heard a lot from people ‘Happy Memorial Day’ and to me, I kind of cringe when I hear that," said Paul Hendrickson, a Retired Staff Sergeant for the U.S Army Infantry.
“We need to reflect about those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and they did it for the love of their country."
The annual ceremony was canceled last year due to COVID-19. Hendrickson said that delivering his speech online in 2020 was "boring".
"The feelings I feel, and the people that I’ve lost, and the people that I’ll be cherishing today... I got to instill that on others, and help them understand what I was feeling too. So maybe, maybe that will resonate with them for the rest of their lives, and they’ll tell that story too. And my brothers and sisters will be remembered too."
This year especially, people all over America seemed excited to use the long weekend for gathering with friends, barbecuing, or kicking off a more "normal" summer compared to 2020. However, veterans like Bob McClelland, a former Chief Hospital Corpsman for the Marine Corps want to remind everyone to "Remember who served. Don't ever forget them".
The ceremony included guest speakers who are Iraqi and Afghanistan combat veterans. A short flyover, as well as a plaque was presented to the outgoing commander of the Pueblo Chemical Depot.
Several resources are available for veterans in Pueblo and made appearances at the ceremony, including the "Pueblo Vet Center". They said they essentially offer anything and everything to veterans in Pueblo, including finding them help with their mental health, or deciphering which benefits they are eligible for.
Other resources in Pueblo include:
- U.S Veterans Affaird Department
- Pueblo Veterans Ritual Team
- Pueblo VA Clinic