CARSON CITY — Two days ahead of the centenary observance of the first Armistice Day, the state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its memorial to the 895 state residents who have died in conflicts dating back to the Civil War – a reminder, in the words of one speaker, that freedom “is not free.”
Several hundred attended the ribbon-cutting of the Battle Born Memorial, a solemn, understated marble-and-metal open archway erected on the grounds of the state Capitol in Carson City near the state archives building.
A scrim of bright, brass-colored angled metal strips with the cut-out names of fallen service members serves as shading for the structure, casting shadows of the names on its base and walls. It glistened in Friday’s brisk autumn sunshine, reflecting the nearby orange, gold and yellow of turning leaves.
Gov. Brian Sandoval called the site “holy ground, a sanctuary where our heroes’ stories will be shared and they will be remembered.”
“All of these heroes died for a cause greater than themselves. They died for a cause greater than all of us,” the governor said. “They died for an idea of liberty.”
State Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, an Air Force veteran who sponsored the 2013 legislation that created the monument, said the memorial commemorates more than the sacrifice of those who died.
“It honors their lives and provides a place that will offer comfort and solace to those families that suffered such immense loss,” he said, “standing as reminder that freedom is not free.”
Tina Drakulich, representing Nevada’s Gold Star families — those that have lost loved ones to combat — told relatives that their courage “in being here is well understood. And your gathering together sends love to the heavens as a message of hope to our fallen angels.”
The memorial was approved by the Legislature in 2013 with final funding approved in December 2017 at a cost of $450,000. It was designed, fabricated and installed by Las Vegas-based Punch Architecture.
Architect Zak Ostrowski said the firm was honored to have won the design competition for the memorial and he praised both the fallen service members and those still on active duty.
Representatives of veterans groups from America’s wars joined the governor and others for the official ribbon-cutting.
Sunday marks the centenary of Armistice Day, when World War I ended. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to commemorate veterans of all wars.
Contact Bill Dentzer at email@example.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @Dentzernews on Twitter.