Memorial Day is a day to observe and honor, not celebrate, those who fought to the death to defend the freedom of those still living.
Mesquite Mayor Allan Litman is one of those veterans; a well-decorated Vietnam veteran who firmly believes in honoring and memorializing those brave men and women who all paid a price for America; especially those who paid the ultimate price.
Litman has been organizing veteran memorials and parades for many years in Mesquite.
The Memorial Day services have been organized by the mayor since 2005. He can remember when just 10 or 12 people showed up but now, just 13 short years later, half the town showed up to pay their respects.
The ceremony began with the raising of the flag, a gun salute, the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. Military Veteran and Mesquite Police Officer Rob Stepp and Fire Chief Jason Andrus had the honor of placing the wreath on the Veteran’s Memorial after which the Mayor introduced an unscheduled but very special speaker.
One thing the mayor has been very careful of through the years in most circumstances of not having political figures, he doesn’t feel that functions such as this are the place for politics but this year he made an exception.
Nevada Senator and Minister Patricia Spearman, who for 29 years served in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, visited Mesquite’s Veterans Park on Memorial Day and was invited to say a few words in tribute to fellow service men and women now deceased.
Senator Spearman said, “I always say to people, ‘We like our freedom, but freedom is not free.’ There’s a saying and I believe I saw it on the mayor’s jacket, ‘All Gave Some and Some Gave All.’” She continued with, “An extension of that is, when we serve, our families serve as well and so on this day we honor those who have served and we honor those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day is more than a parade, it’s not just a day off; it is to honor the men and the women who were willing to go into battle so that on days like today we can still say, God Bless America, my home sweet home!”
Litman spoke next saying, “The senator is right. I was watching television yesterday when a commercial came on saying, ‘Come on down to Las Vegas and celebrate Memorial Day.’” He continued, “We don’t celebrate Memorial Day, it’s a different type of a holiday. We honor Memorial Day.”
The mayor called out to many seated veterans his thanks and thanks to the families that supported them. “It’s an honor to stand before you and speak of something I hold so dearly, remembering the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. Many of us are now old soldiers but we must continue on so that this Memorial Day and those in the future will never be forgotten. This is why we, the many, gather to honor those who are dead; the few, so willing to give of themselves to defend their brothers, their sisters and their country. Memorial Day isn’t about honoring veterans; it’s honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans have the ability to come home; that’s what made them a veteran. As a Vietnam Veteran, I’m frequently greeted with, ‘Welcome home’ or ‘Thank you for your service.’ I’m grateful to hear those words; so many of my comrades never had the opportunity.”