By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming is a patriotic state.
Many residents say proudly, “Wyoming is what America was” – and there’s a lot of truth to that. Children still say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day. Community meetings begin with an opening prayer.
And Memorial Day ceremonies like the ones being planned around the state draw crowds of people whose values are based on faith and country.
In Cody, where the State Veteran’s Memorial stands guard at the east entrance to the community, an annual ceremony draws dignitaries from around Wyoming and the nation. On Monday, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso will be in attendance as an honored guest.
“As we observe Memorial Day, Bobbi and I join everyone in Wyoming in remembering the men and women who have sacrificed everything to keep us safe and free,” Barrasso told Cowboy State Daily. “In towns across Wyoming, communities will come together this weekend to pay tribute to their courage. I always enjoy attending these events across the state each year and look forward to participating in Cody’s celebration on Monday.”
In addition to members of the local VFW and other veterans, the state’s highest ranking military commander, Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter, Adjutant General, Joint Force Headquarters, will be the keynote speaker.
Mayor Matt Hall will be the master of ceremonies for the event, which will include a 21-gun salute and the singing of the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
In Rock Springs, the American Legion will host several ceremonies – each will feature veterans in uniform, the firing of a cannon and the playing of “Taps,” as well as the lowering of the American flag.
Down the road in Green River, a ceremony at the local cemetery at 9:30 a.m. will honor those who died in the service of their country.
Worland and Ten Sleep will host Wyoming’s other U.S. Senator, Cynthia Lummis, at ceremonies at each of the towns’ cemeteries. Accompanying Lummis will be Brig. Gen. Justin Walrath of the Wyoming Air National Guard. Both will be keynote speakers at the events.
Sheridan County is going a little more high-tech, live-streaming its Memorial Day observance from the WYO Theatre in downtown Sheridan. The ceremony will also be open to members of the public to attend in person.
After the pandemic caused Memorial Day ceremonies to be canceled around the country last year, this year’s observances are especially poignant, as residents have been given their of “freedom” from last year’s public health regulations that were only recently rescinded.
“Cody has always taken Memorial Day to heart,” said Cody Mayor Hall, “but last year’s restrictions tarnished this. I gratefully expect to witness the full breadth of our community’s support this year.”The U.S. Army Center of Military History reports that Wyoming lost 779 soldiers in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, combined.