CASPER, Wyo. — Hundreds of small American flags marking each gravesite waved in the breeze as people walked through the Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery to pay their respects on Monday morning.
During a short ceremony in the cemetery chapel, U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman gave brief remarks before Casper native Sgt. 1st Class Shane Vincent gave his speech. Vincent is assigned to the Society of Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and once stayed on watch for 24 hours straight without relief.
Vincent said his view of Memorial Day has evolved since childhood. At first it meant a long weekend, but then he joined the service and started to understand its deeper meaning.
“That’s what Memorial Day is,” he said. “It’s about enjoying time with our families, and taking advantage of the liberties we have while also remembering those that made it possible.”
Vincent also touched on not only sacrifices made in combat, but also those who suffer from PTSD and depression years after.
“We’ve lost too many good men and women right here at home, and that loss is heavy on our hearts as well,” he said.
“Let us also remember the families of those who served. They too made sacrifices and carry the burdens of their loved one’s absence.”
“A service member never truly dies until they are forgotten,” he continued. “May we never forget the price they paid, may we never forget their service, and may we never forget their names.”