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Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy

American Legion New Mexico Allingham Golding Post 18 Commander John Sterle served as master of ceremonies at the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2019, at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery.

He led the event by reading "What is a Veteran?" He noted that less than 7 percent of the population have served in the Armed Services. "Today only 1 percent is serving."

Joseph Trujillo, Fort Bayard National Cemetery caretaker, welcomed attendees. "Construction will be ongoing. The sidewalks will be widened, and the roads will be paved."

Heidi Byrd, representing U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich's officer, read a message from the senator and another from Sen. Tom Udall.

Carol Pickering of the Southwest New Mexico Quilters Guild, along with the quilters who created a Quilt of Valor, presented a quilt to World War II veteran Manuel R. Leyba. "Since the Quilt of Valor program began in 2003, 203,183 quilts have been made and donated to veterans. In Grant County, we began in November 2014. Today we present our 153rd quilt to Mr. Leyba. Tomorrow we will present our 154th and the day after the 155th. We feel it is a privilege for us to spend time to honor our veterans who spend and spent so much time for us. Leyba was born in 1924, because a carpenter at age 14, and in 1943 was drafted into the Navy."

Airman First Class Ashley Terrazas was the keynote speaker. "How do you thank veterans for fighting for people they don't even know? Less than 1 percent of the population serves in the military and 20 percent of those are women. It's a whole community with so many different jobs. It is an incredible honor and opportunity for me to serve. It includes so many benefits, such as paid college, food, a place to live and many others."

She said the hardest thing for her is missing Mexican food. "I have missed so much in nine months, but life doesn't stop. I made the decision to fight for my country. There are simply not enough thanks to give to veterans."

Sterle presented Terrzas with a full membership in the American Legion. He also gave her a Department of New Mexico challenge coin, which was donated by Dale Wilson who raised more than $10,000 to go to the Fisher House in Albuquerque. The Fisher House is a home away from home for families of veterans receiving care at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque.

Sterle also pointed out that World War II veteran Dan McBride had been knighted in France. "We have to call him Sir Dan now."

Roger Wright of the American Legion Riders Chapter 13 said Grant County residents are the most generous people. The chapter just donated $230 to the Fort Bayard Medical Center Veterans Wing for their cigarette fund.

Sterle introduced New Mexico Rep. Rodolpho "Rudy" Martinez and NM Senator Gabriel Ramos, and recognized Byrd for her representation of the U.S. senators.

He also recognized the veterans' service organization and auxiliary members from American Legion Post 18, the American Legion Riders, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 18, the Gaffney-Oglesby Marine Corps League Detachment 1328, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 158, and the DAV Chapter 1.

Lorraine Anglin, who had led off with the national anthem closed the ceremony with "God Bless America."

Jim Dines played "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes and Don Luhrsen, Post 18 Chaplain, who gave the invocation, also ended with the benediction.

 

Live from Silver City

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