31-year veteran praises National Guard families

FERNLEY — Victims of warfare, soldiers still fighting in foreign countries and their friends and families were praised and remembered on Monday at Memorial Day services across Nevada.

“This Memorial Day represents one day in the remembrance of those who fell. We honor them especially on Memorial Day,” Nevada Air National Guard Col. Steven Hanson said at a gathering of about 500 people at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley.

“We also remember the grief of the family and friends of those young people.”

He said some of his most anxious hours are when Guard members are being deployed to the Middle East and the most satisfying ones are when he welcomes them back.

Hanson, a 31-year veteran of the Nevada Air Guard, spoke at the cemetery about 35 miles east of Reno. Over the weekend, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts from Fernley placed American flags at each of nearly 5,000 graves.

A gathering of bikers sporting Harley-Davidson T-shirts rode in to pay their respects.

“Your back gets a little straighter, and your head gets a little higher,” Caroline Cathey of Reno said.

Cathey’s son, Marine 2nd Lt. James Cathey of Sparks, was killed nearly two years ago. She was in Fernley with family members.

“It lets you know he didn’t die in vain. He died for what we all are enjoying right now, and we all have to stay united so they don’t divide and conquer us,” she said.

For the fourth year, members of the Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace conducted a ceremony honoring members of the United States services to die in Iraq. As each of the more than 3,400 names was read, an American flag was inserted in the lawn in front of the U.S. courthouse in Reno.

“Each one of those flags represents a life,” John Hader said.

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