Leadville News – May 27

Tenth Mountain Ceremony on Memorial Monday

Memorial Monday, May 28 at 11 a.m., just half a mile from Ski Cooper, veterans, local Coloradans, descendants and friends will gather to honor their fallen comrades of the 10th Mountain Division and the 99th Battalion who lost their lives in combat. The WWII ‘men of the mountain’ did their advanced ski training in 1940s at Ski Cooper, when it was known as Cooper Hill.

“This is the 59th annual Memorial Day Ceremony honoring those who served in the 10th Mountain Division and all other veterans of America’s wars,” said Trux Dole, Tenth Mountain Division Foundation President. “We will gather at Tennessee Pass to especially remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving with the 10th Mountain Division.”

Wreaths are laid at the Tenth Mountain Division Monument at the top of Tennessee Pass. Service will be Monday, May 28, 2018Photo: Leadville Today/Brennan Ruegg

Open to the public, this Colorado Memorial Day tradition is a meaningful and touching event that will remind participants of the sacrifice of our great heroes, and give them the opportunity to see and touch WWII artifacts and equipment provided by the 10th Mountain Living History Group. In addition, Soldiers from the 157th Colorado Army National Guard Battalion recently aligned under the 10th Mountain Division will participate in this year’s ceremony. Because of limited seating, attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The Lake County High School Band will provide music and the Canyon City Junior ROTC Color Guard will post colors in honor of those that gave so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.

The WWII 10th Mountain Division was created in Colorado in 1943 and trained at Camp Hale, high in the Rockies, near Leadville. It was the only unit in the history of the United States Army to be organized specifically for mountain and winter warfare. The highly regarded 10th played a major role in the battles that brought about the surrender of the German Army in Italy in 1945. After the war, the Division was deactivated and many of the Veterans went on to create ski resorts across America, including, among others, Vail, Aspen, and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Whiteface Mountain in New York State, Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak Ski areas in New Mexico, and numerous others. Veterans of the 10th were instrumental in making skiing a major American winter sport.

Reactivated in 1985 and based out of Fort Drum, New York, the 10th Mountain Division has proudly carried the moniker of “the most deployed division in our Army,” and is furthering the division’s legacy. Since 9-11, the Division Headquarters has deployed 11 times equaling almost 12 years and more than 40 brigade size deployments have occurred.

The keynote speaker this year will be LTC John Hancher, Infantry Battalion Commander of the 1-157 Colorado Army National Guard. The foundation’s tradition of profiles of the fallen with a brief reading for a member of the WWII 10th, the 99th and also today’s 10th will continue to be a part of the ceremony. As in the past, wreaths will be placed at the base of the monument representing the National Association, the Descendants Organization, the Foundation and the 99th Viking battalion, as well as wreaths representing each chapter that wishes to participate. The public is welcome, however due to limited seating, please bring a lawn chair.

The Tenth Mountain Division Foundation was established in 1958 by WWII veterans of the 10th Mountain Division to memorialize the history and exceptional achievements of the 10th Mountain Division; and to perpetuate its legacy for future generations. The Foundation administers several programs to help wounded warriors and to support higher education. Learn more about the Foundation on its website: www.tenthmountainfoundation.org.

Following the Memorial Day ceremony, a luncheon will be available at the Ski Cooper Lodge. The cost for the barbeque lunch is $12.50. It is not necessary to pre-order tickets. The menu will include hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers, bratwurst, and side dishes. Should you wish to bring your own lunch, you may do so.

It is important to honor fallen soldiers, so please consider making a special effort to attend either or both commemorations. They are both very meaningful events for those living in Leadville Today. #NeverForget2018.


A veteran pauses to remember fallen soldiers during the Tenth Mountain Division Memorial Day ceremony. Photo: Leadville Today/Brennan Ruegg.

Lake County Panthers Turn Tassels – Congratulations!

Lake County High School graduate Hunter Nelson poses for a picture after receiving his diploma at the 2018 Commencement ceremony held in the high school gym on May 26. Congratulations and best of luck in your future endeavors.

Remembering Those Who Served and Sacrificed

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, so if your plans include attending a service in Lake County, here are a couple of very meaningful events to consider. One is today (Sunday), the other tomorrow.

TODAY Sunday, May 27 the annual Lake County Memorial Ceremony and Recognition Ride will take place, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The 2018 Lake County Memorial Day Services will be held again on Sunday, May 27, rather than the  traditional  Memorial Day Monday in order to  accommodate those traveling to the event and to encourage more people to attend. The event will be held at the Veterans Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville at 1 p.m.

This year, the Memorial Day program will feature speeches by Lake County Commissioner Sarah Mudge, Dustin Palmer (US Navy and brother of Nick Palmer),  and Captain Alex J. Longo who will be inspiring the day with his words and music. This year’s keynote speaker will be Sergeant Major Henry Shaw. 

Musical presentations will include “Amazing Grace” by Leadville Bagpiper Collin McFee and his Mount Massive Pipe Band students. Zach Coffin will once again close the ceremony out with a sorrowful rendition of “Taps.” Representatives from the Leadville Elks Lodge #236 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2 Mile High Post #859 will lay wreaths at the memorials. 

As usual there are some last minute twists and turns that always add to this very personal ceremony. It’s a moving service, and certainly a good reminder of what the day is all about: remembering those who died in active military service. The public is welcome and of course, so are the kids. There’s a lunch following the service at the Elks Lodge at 123 W. 5th Street in Leadville.

Memorial Ride Along Fallen Heroes Highway

The 7th Annual Fallen Heroes Run will take place before the service, starting in Summit County this morning. The motorcycles and riders will assemble at the Summit County Elks Lodge at 1321 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. Registration is at 10:30 a.m. with the group departing to at 11:45, weather permitting.  The ride will travel along Fallen Heroes Highway, aka Highway 91 over Fremont Pass and into Leadville Evergreen Cemetery. A donation of $10 a bike will be accepted with all proceeds going to Lake County Veterans Memorial. 

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who died for the freedoms Americans enjoy.  Come and show your gratitude for the sacrifices these heroes have made. 

While the engraving deadline is past for the 2018 ceremony, it’s never too late to plan ahead for next year or consider a straight-up donation by contacting Brad Palmer at 719-207-1380 or mailing a check to Lake County Veteran Memorial, PO Box 952, Leadville, CO 80461. 

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