Photo: Día de los Muertos ofrenda, created by Carlos Gutierrez, in honor of Aaron Cowan, at Blue Dome Gallery inside Bear Mountain Lodge. From left, are Aaron's mother Mary, Carlos Gutierrez, Rev. Larimore Wickett, Aaron's father Tip, and in back, Aaron's brother Greene. (Photo by Mary Alice Murphy)
Today, Nov. 2, is All Soul's Day or Día de los Muertos, as neighbors in Mexico call it. For them, it is a day of celebration, with ofrendas being constructed to honor the deceased family members and friends.
The ofrendas are altars that include photos of loved ones, as well as brightly colored flowers to tempt them back to enjoy the day with family. Favorite foods are offered, as well. Tradition has it that the next day, if the foods no longer retain their odors, it means the spirits have partaken of the invisible part of the foodstuffs, the delicious smells.
Carlos Gutierrez, who lives in Silver City, has been constructing ofrendas for Blue Dome Gallery for many years. This year, he chose to create one in honor of Tip and Mary Cowan's son, Aaron, who died in 2005 in Korea in a helicopter crash.
Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Cowan grew up in Silver City with his older brother Greene and his sister Rachel. He attended Sixth Street and José Barrios Elementary Schools, La Plata Middle School and graduated from Silver High School in 1986, where he was active and cross-country, basketball and track.
He entered military service as an infantryman. Aaron served in special Operations and was highly decorated with the Expert Infantry Bade, his Ranger Tab, Scuba Badge, and Master Parachutist's Wings. He entered Aviation Service in 1992 and served as an attack helicopter pilot, having earned his rotorcraft license while in High School. He soon became an experience and skilled Army pilot, qualifying as an AH-64A/D (Apache) Instructor Pilot and Safety Officer.
He is survived by his wife Kari, and son Logan William, his parents, Tip and Mary Cowan, and his brother Greene and sister Rachel.