AURORA – There are 6,023 names etched into glass panels of the Colorado Freedom Memorial – names of Colorado soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“There’s nothing quite like this anywhere in the country,” said Rick Crandall, President of the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation.
On Saturday morning, hundreds gathered for “Colorado Remembers,” a Memorial Day event to honor the soldiers whose names appear on the glass panels of the memorial.
“It’s a good day for remembering today, and the weather is beautiful,” Crandall said.
Linda Scheffel was there to snap pictures for her husband and the Civil Air Patrol which was taking part in the ceremony.
“I just think it’s a wonderful atmosphere to remember those who have served and who have fallen,” Scheffel said. “I think their service is such a sacrifice, and I think if we forget, I don’t think we honor what they’ve done for us.”
Sound of the Rockies men’s a cappella chorus performed, and the newly forged Colorado Honor Bell tolled seven times for soldiers who served and sacrificed. Two F-16s from the Colorado Air National Guard flew over the crowd at the end of the ceremony.
David Tondreau was one of several veterans in the crowd. He served in the Air Force from 1972 to 1977 as a missile launch officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base.
“It’s really important that we remember what these guys did and their sacrifice,” Tondreau said. “Many of us can’t even begin to relate to what that sacrifice was, but I’m here to basically honor those guys.”
After the ceremony, people laid roses and messages at the base of the Colorado Freedom Memorial.
“Hopefully, people will come out over the next three days, spend some time out here [and] get a sense of just what it cost for us to have the privilege of enjoying this weekend,” Rick Crandall said.
A free public concert with the Denver Brass, Celtic Colorado Pipes and Drums and Legacy Quartet followed the official ceremony.