By Laura Brown

Triplicate Staff Writer

The sky hung heavy with threatening clouds. The manicured lawns burst with the color of flickering flags and freshly cut flowers. People holding hands walked among the rows of graves to pay respect to lost loved ones. Hugs and smiles were plentiful at yesterdays Memorial Day ceremony as hundreds of old friends were reunited.

About 1,300 flags were distributed on fallen soldiers graves Saturday by Joe Snider, Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and his family.

When the flags are waving its like theyre saying goodbye, Snider commented.

Young and old turned out for the ceremony with estimations of 250 in attendance.

We had a very nice day here. The weather was cooperative and there was a very nice turnout, Jim Husong, a Korean veteran spoke of the event afterward. I appreciate all the young people.

I think its the biggest one we had, Dearl Morrow, a Korean veteran, said of yesterdays turnout. I go to every one of em. Morrow participates in putting up the flags which flew until 5 p.m.

The ceremony began with the Passing Review of the Flags carried by four camouflage-clad members of Vietnow and four members of the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department. The Lords Prayer was delivered by Chaplain John Johannessen, who reminded those in attendance that the flag flies over land that is still free.

After Bob Cochran united the crowd with the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful, Jerry Cochran lit the eternal flame symbolizing the eternal spirit of the dead. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary placed the emblem of nations; a bundle of flowers, a wreath and the Cross of David next to the eternal flame, at the base of the flagpole.

Bill Parker, a World War II veteran, said he never sees a flag waving without having spine chills and admiration for the brave souls who risked their lives.

Most worthwhile things come at a price, he noted. Laughter erupted from the crowd when Parker joked, that the gates of heaven are guarded by the


After Sarah Samples delivered the Flanders Field poem, a riflemans shots exploded. Taps echoed throughout the cemetery as people silently paid homage to the dead by placing a hand on their heart or in salute at their brow. The ceremony ended with the retiring of the flags. The smiles and handshakes returned as the air became a buzz of fond farewells.

They come whether it rains or not, said Jerry Johnson who is the Memorial Day coordinator and has been involved in the event for 14 years. The people involved are very sincere. They cut across personal boundaries, he added.

Sheriff Jim Maready added: Its a nice way the community repays the veterans. Its nice to see the community come together.