Three months after Korean War veteran Charles E. Leany died, he was honored for his military service.
He’s among five veterans whose names were added this year to Henderson’s Veterans Memorial Wall. Their names were read aloud Saturday during the city’s annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Henderson Events Plaza.
Charles’ son Kevin Leany — a lifelong Henderson resident — already has his own name on the wall, under the Vietnam War panel, where it was engraved a few years ago. He served in Germany around the time of the Vietnam War.
It spurred him to pursue getting his father’s name added to the deceased veterans panel. Charles, who served in the Utah National Guard, died in July at age 86.
“It bothered me that my name is on here and his wasn’t,” Kevin said after Saturday’s ceremony.
Now, he said, his father’s name is where it belongs.
Other veterans added to the wall this year: Chris Banks Lane and Bradley Alan Lane to the deceased veterans panel, and David Stevens and Jason “Sluggo” Altchek to the Persian Gulf War panel.
Following the Memorial Wall ceremony, the One Hero at a Time volunteer group held its 10th annual fundraiser to benefit injured veterans. Proceeds from Saturday’s event will go to nine Las Vegas Valley veterans previously recognized by One Hero at a Time.
Henderson’s yearly Veterans Day ceremony — held in advance of the federal holiday Nov. 11 — is “one of the proudest traditions” in the city, Mayor Debra March told a few hundred people in the audience. “I know for so many of you, veterans aren’t just our friends and neighbors. They’re our family.”
The approximately 30-minute ceremony included an invocation and prayer by the Rev. John Assalone of St. Francis of Assisi, a presentation of the colors by the Basic High School’s Marine Corps JROTC, singing of the national anthem by Coronado High School choir member Brooke Dougherty, and patriotic music performed by the Henderson Symphony Orchestra.
Attendees included veterans and representatives from veterans’ organizations, elected officials, local scouting groups and residents.
Henderson Municipal Court Chief Judge Mark Stevens, who served in the Marines from 1988 to 1994, was the keynote speaker. Stevens told the crowd Veterans Day is a chance to recognize those who raised their hand to protect and defend the U.S.
Veterans, he said, show attributes such as discipline, integrity and selflessness.
Some members of the public may have hated various wars or conflicts over the years, Stevens said, but he hopes they understand the need to respect those who’ve served.
Referencing the scorn Vietnam War veterans received when they returned home, Stevens said: “I hope this country has learned from that travesty.”
In 2011, he implemented the Veterans Treatment Court program in Henderson, which assists veterans who have conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury who are charged with a misdemeanor offense.
As for Henderson’s Veterans Memorial Wall, it was dedicated in 1994 and includes 1,866 names of veterans who were Henderson residents. The city added two new panels this year: one for the Persian Gulf War and one for the global war on terror.
Kevin Leany’s wife, Sherri — also a lifelong Henderson resident — recognized many names on the wall as she looked at it Saturday. Her father and father-in-law are among them.