Photo and article courtesy of Karen Beckenbach.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to Karen Beckenbach of the Grant County Community Concert Association for this recap. This editor attended and would like to report that it was excellent. This editor also took a bunch of notes and photos and will try to write it up sometime in the not too distant future!]
The Armed Forces Day Celebration was held Sunday May 21 at Bataan Memorial Park and was a great success. The event started with members from the Marine Corps League and Vietnam Veterans of America posting the colors followed by Emcee Raul Turrieta having attendees stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. After Raul paid tribute to the active-duty military, Gold Star Families and veterans he introduced the guest speakers, Dr. John Bell who gave a brief history of Fort Bayard. The next speaker, David Morrison, gave a passionate speech about the men from Grant County who were sent to Bataan, eventually captured and forced on the infamous Bataan Death March then ended up on the Hell Ships that were sunk by friendly fire. Of the 112 men from Grant County that went to Bataan only 45 returned home. He implored us to never forget their sacrifice and to take time to read the history posted in the Park. The final speaker was Phillip Torres, director of the Fort Bayard National Cemetery who spoke of the history of the Cemetery, his desire to enhance the cemetery, and to commemorate it as a final resting place that pays tribute to all who have given their service and sacrifice along with their loved ones to our nation. Memorial Day Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, 2023, at Fort Bayard National Cemetery.
After a break to allow the 1st Armored Division Band to set up attendees were treated a fantastic concert! Check out the GCCCA FaceBook page to see the posts by Al Gamboa. https://www.facebook.com/Grantcountycommunityconcertassociation
To hold a successful event such as this requires support from many organizations. On behalf of the planning committee (GCCCA, WNMU Dept of Cultural Affairs, and the American Legion Post 18) we thank the 1st Armored Division Band, Raul Turrieta, the Marine Corps League and Vietnam Veterans of America, the Town of Silver City, Grant County Facility and Grounds Dept., Santa Clara Volunteer Fire Dept., Friends of Bataan Memorial Park, Daughters of the American Revolution Jacob Bennett Chapter, the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society, and Humphrey Enterprises Inc, all of whom were instrumental in making this event happen. In addition, this project was supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, through an Arts in the Military grant.