Memorial Day Commemoration At Plaza De Española

Members of the Santa Fe DAV chapter, the America Legion and the EVHS Army ROTC present the colors at the Memorial Day commemoration Monday at 11 a.m. Valley Daily Post photo

Memorial Day Commemoration At Plaza De Española

By Robert A. Naranjo

The Veteran’s Memorial Wall Commission put on a fine Memorial Day Commemoration , May 30, with a ceremony of respect and deserved thanks for the “fallen heroes” of past wars, veterans whom have passed away recently, and for all veterans in the armed forces of the U.S., past and present.

Memorial Wall Commission President, Mel Apodaca, served as emcee. The ceremony began with the Posting of the Colors by Adjutant Joe Garcia, Major Mark Gonzales’ EJr ROTC, the Invocation by Chaplain Chris Archuleta, and a Moment of Silence for POW MIA’s led by President Apodaca.

Española Mayor Alice Lucero welcomed everyone to the ceremony and to the city. She began by saying, “This wall is very special and it was the product of a grateful community. Thanks for taking time out of your day today to honor our veterans, those who have served, both men and women.” She continued, “We have many from this valley who have different conflicts and different wars, and some come home and some do not. We pray and remember those who have died, and we remember those who have served.”

The Mayor thanked the Memorial Wall Commission for planning the event, the Fiesta Council being represented by La Reina de las Fiestas del Valle de Española y de Oñate and her Court, and Governor Don Juan de Oñate and his cuadrilla who laid one of the wreaths at the Memorial Wall. She recognized and thanked Councilors Pedro Valdez and Peggy Sue Martinez for their attendance. And she thanked city employees, Sherry Aragon, acting Community Services Director and “all the employees who helped prepare the Plaza for this event.”

She mentioned veterans who have died and said, “We lost a veteran last week… David Castañeda.” Castañeda helped in the office of the Veteran’s Memorial Wall and “attended every event along with his wife.” Lucero thanked Castañeda, and his family for all their service.

“We also want to remember Felix Romero of La Mesilla…who served with pride and honor as a Combat veteran in the Vietnam War,” Lucero said. Romero, she said, reached the rank of Sargent in the U.S. Army. She recognized and thanked his wife, Monika, and their family.

Another veteran, Anastacio Sisneros, of Española, who died in 2015, was remembered and thanked by Lucero for his service. She extended her condolences to his family and thanked them for his honorable service to his country.

Jose E.M. Herrera, “loved his wife and family and served until he died,” Lucero said. She added that President John F. Kennedy sent two letters to Herrera’s family after his passing. She thanked Herrera and his family for his service.

​There was a Gun Salute by the Santa Fe DAV and the American Legion. Taps by Eddie Maestas, and the laying of two wreaths at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall in honor of Veterans who have passed: Romero, Sisneros, Herrera and Castañeda. The wreaths were laid at the wall by La Reina and Governor Oñate , and the other by President Mel Apodoca with the Knights of Columbus (K of C). Present for ceremony was K of C District Marshall, Leroy Lopez

Former Mayor Richard L. Lucero also spoke at the ceremony. He lamented the loss of many of the events associated with Memorial Day. Lucero recalled when “church bells would toll” when someone in the community had passed on. He said that many times the U.S gets into wars unnecessarily, but our veterans are always ready to answer the call of duty.

There were more than 20 Military Organizations and Native American Associations in attendance for the Veteran’s Memorial Wall Ceremony. The Sikh community provided refreshments and lunch. 

The ceremony was conducted under blue skies, and a slight breeze that gently unfurled the flags on the many flagpoles at the Plaza de Española.

See below for more images of the commemoration.

Members of the EVHS ROTC present the colors at Monday’s event. Valley Daily Post photo

The black POW-MIA flag, remembering the missing soldiers from Vietnam and other conflicts flies at half staff during the solemn event. Valley Daily Post photo