Blanding Mayor Toni Turk spoke at the event. His words include, “Thank you for honoring our veterans with your presence here today.
“All too often the scourge of war is thrust upon a generation. The scourge of this generation is the War on Terror.
“The War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan has cost our community dearly, taking the lives of Quinn Archie Keith, Nathan Lloyd Winder, James Earl Thode and Jason Ray Workman.
“Their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families deserve remembrance. The decision was made to create a two-phase memorial – one virtual and the other physical – and to reach back through time to extend a more personal remembrance for all veterans with a tie to San Juan County and its families.
“The launch of the virtual memorial was coordinated with Veterans Day 2012 and is a partnership between the City of Blanding and the veterans group Together We Served.
“Over 800 veterans are represented in the virtual memorial. The actual number of San Juan County-connected veterans is probably twice this number. We encourage those that can to assist us with including those who are missing.
“Today we are dedicating a physical memorial for those whose service carried a greater cost than time, distance and sometimes mental anguish or trauma.
“In the physical Memorial, a special tribute is made to our combat dead, who fell at the hands of our nation’s enemies. These are honored with their pictures and name plates.
“A special book of remembrance in the memorial provides hard copies of the following: Combat Dead, POWs, non-Combat Dead and recipients of the Purple Heart. This is incomplete and we invite assistance in improving these memorials.”
Community members also gathered for a Memorial Day Sunrise Service at the Blanding Cemetery. The flag raising was handled by Montana and David Carr and included remarks by World War II Veteran Ken Macdonald. The event closed with a 21-gun salute and taps.