Grand Lake’s Memorial Day events honor veterans, thank East Troublesome first responders
This year’s Memorial Day ceremony in Grand Lake had an even more somber tone than usual as the town gathered for one of its first events since the East Troublesome Fire.
Mayor Steve Kudron began the ceremony by thanking the first responders who worked the East Troublesome Fire for all of their efforts to save the town. Kudron also held a moment of silence for Lyle and Marilyn Hileman, who died in the East Troublesome Fire.
“We have not yet been able to properly thank all of those who were a part and a piece of saving our community and the place we call Grand Lake,” Kudron said. “Lyle and Marilyn Hileman, we will all miss them dearly.”
Several hundred people gathered in Grand Lake’s Town Park to observe the traditional raising of Nursie’s Flag, which was donated to the town by Lt. Dorothy Young, aka Nursie, an Army nurse who served during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
After Pearl Harbor, Young moved to Grand Lake where she ran the Kickapoo Lodge and acted as the school nurse. Upon her death in 2000, Young donated her flag that had flown over the USS Arizona memorial on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor to the town of Grand Lake, which is now used in the Memorial Day ceremony.
In addition to the flag ceremony, Grand County Veterans’ Services Director Duane Dailey read the names of 31 veterans who died in 2020 and 2021, accompanied by bell ringing. Local musician Peggy Mann also sang the national anthem and one of her own songs called “Stand on Your Own.”
Addressing the crowd, Col. William Robinson thanked attendees for honoring Memorial Day by taking the time to remember what it’s all about, as well as specifically recognized Vietnam veterans and their service.
“Grand Lake, unlike so many other towns, celebrates Memorial Day as it should be — with a parade and ceremony and remembrance,” Robinson, a Vietnam veteran himself, said. “I ask that you welcome the summer, but that you pause with me for a moment to honor the memory and sacrifice of the men and women who traded all of their summers and tomorrows for us.”
While the ceremony was reverent, the end of pandemic restrictions allowed for the return of the popular parade down main street, featuring local first responders, veterans, town officials and businesses celebrating the day.
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Evidence of the destruction of the East Troublesome Fire is clearly visible just across the road of the Grand Lake Lodge, yet the flames never touched the building thanks to the dedication of the fire…