Lummis Demands Answers On Why VA Didn't Show Up To Memorial Day Service

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis on Thursday said the Veterans Administration needs to explain why they didn't show up to a Memorial Day service in Cheyenne. “On behalf of the nearly 50,000 veterans in my state, I find Monday’s mishap to be completely unacceptable," she said.

Pat Maio

May 30, 20243 min read

Lynda Drum (left) visited the grave of her veteran father Harvey Frisbee. U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (right)
Lynda Drum (left) visited the grave of her veteran father Harvey Frisbee. U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (right) (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, has sent a letter to the person in charge of memorial affairs with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) asking the department to explain why the ball was dropped on a Memorial Day ceremony at the Cheyenne National Cemetery.

As many as 100 people showed up at the cemetery – the only national cemetery in Wyoming – ahead of an advertised 11 a.m. Memorial Day observance to remember America’s fallen heroes and loved ones.

Instead, as reported by Cowboy State Daily, they were stood up

“I would like answers on what exactly occurred so we can ensure this never happens again,” Lummis wrote in the May 30 letter to the Ronald Walters, the VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs. 

“I was dismayed to hear that Memorial Day Services at the Cheyenne National Cemetery were not carried out as planned,” Lummis said. 

People traveled hundreds of miles, including some from surrounding states, to participate in the solemn traditions honoring fallen heroes. However, when they arrived at the cemetery, the VA was nowhere to be found.

Veterans and family who showed up at 11 a.m. — as announced on the VA’s website —expected some sort of Memorial Day observance but found the national cemetery deserted, except for others who showed up for the same advertised event.

The folks who went to the cemetery were fighting mad.

“We the people showed up today, but the government didn’t,” said Cheyenne’s Diane Fritsch, regarding the VA's snafu on timing for an observance event.

“I’m from a little town in Dalton, Nebraska, with 300 people, and our VFW post is having an observance,” said Mark Laurent, who showed up expecting an 11 a.m. to noon ceremony on Monday at the 5-acre cemetery the VA dedicated in October 2020.

Lummis said the cemetery was established as part of an initiative to expand cemeteries in rural areas, with Wyoming’s population having one of the highest percentages of veterans in the United States. 

“On behalf of the nearly 50,000 veterans in my state, I find Monday’s mishap at the Cheyenne National Cemetery to be completely unacceptable," she wrote.

Memorial Day is when U.S. military personnel who have died serving their country get some dedicated respect, prayers and other honors.

“Memorial Day is more than just a long weekend, it is a day to pay respects to the brave individuals who died for our freedom,” Lummis wrote in the letter. “For the families who have lost a loved one or the veterans feeling forgotten after their service, I can only imagine the pain this day brings.”

Lummis said the VA’s move was disrespectful.

“Mistakes like these are not only disrespectful to the individuals who showed up for the ceremony but has even greater ramifications to the reputation of the VA,” she said. “We must do better.”

Pat Maio can be reached at

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Pat Maio


Pat Maio is a veteran journalist who covers energy for Cowboy State Daily.