Westminster added bricks honoring 157 current and former members of the U.S. armed forces to its tribute garden May 18 during its annual celebration of Armed Forces Day. The city also announced that …
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Westminster added bricks honoring 157 current and former members of the U.S. armed forces to its tribute garden May 18 during its annual celebration of Armed Forces Day.
The city also announced that several new sculptures are in the works and will be added to the garden, each highlighting one of the U.S. branches — Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, the Coast Guard and the U.S. Merchant Marines.
“Today, here, we honor the men and women who represent our country all over the world, serving this country in the field of experience,” Speaker Anthony Abeyta, a retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant and member of the local American Legion. “Everyone here today, we will never forget our loved ones who served or are currently serving to keep America united and to promote freedom.”
Armed Forces Day is one of three annual military commemorations in the U.S.
While Memorial Day — the fourth Monday each May — honors veterans who died in service and Veterans Day honors all who have served annually on Nov. 11, Armed Forces Day honors everyone who has served, is serving or plans to serve. It was first marked in 1950 and occurs annually on the third Saturday each May.
“I think we are on our 11th year doing this celebration,” said Westminster Marketing Coordinator Leah Krumpholz. “It’s open to any one who has served. Last year, we inducted our first military canine.”
Westminster’s Armed Forces Tribute Garden is located on 104th Avenue, just east of U.S. 36 and along the city’s Recreation Center parks and Christopher Fields. Anyone can purchase a brick honoring anyone serving in a branch of the U.S. military and have it placed each May after the Armed Forces Day ceremony.
“The Tribute Garden recognizes more than 1,500 members of military, past and present,” Mayor Herb Atchison said. “We give thanks to those who currently serve, those who served in the past, those who lost their lives in service and those who will serve in the future.”
The tribute garden features a central sculpture surrounded by six pillars marking each of the branches of the military. The areas around the pillars are filled with the bricks honoring those who have served.
The 2019 ceremony featured the city’s Fire and Police Honor Guard, the El Jebel Shrine Pipe and Drum Corps and member of two American Legion Posts, Post 11-11 and 22. It included a 21 gun salute and concluded with the release of 22 doves.
Nearly 100 attended the ceremony, many of them families who had placed bricks in the garden previously. Many marked the bricks belonging to their family members with small flags.
Atchison said noted that this year’s ceremony featured several graduating seniors from Westminster-area high schools who are beginning their military service. That included graduating seniors from Standley Lake High School, Westminster High School, Hidden Lake and Jefferson Academy.
Proceeds from the sales of the bricks are used to maintain the garden but also to purchase the new sculptures that have been commissioned for the garden.
“This garden is not finished,” Atchison said. “With the help of the volunteers, from corporations and many individuals, we are raising the final funds for the last six statues.”
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