With wreaths, a balloon release and songs, Dodge City residents paused Monday to honor America's fallen soldiers.

    "Memorial Day brings with it something different for everyone — memories of fallen comrades, friends, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters," retired Army Lt. Col. Anthony Lyons said during a Memorial Day service at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery. "It carries with it a solemn state of mind and a burning desire to honor those who so proudly stood upon the ideals for which this great country is founded. We show our gratitude that they were willing to fight for right as they knew it."


With wreaths, a balloon release and songs, Dodge City residents paused Monday to honor America's fallen soldiers.
    "Memorial Day brings with it something different for everyone — memories of fallen comrades, friends, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters," retired Army Lt. Col. Anthony Lyons said during a Memorial Day service at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery. "It carries with it a solemn state of mind and a burning desire to honor those who so proudly stood upon the ideals for which this great country is founded. We show our gratitude that they were willing to fight for right as they knew it."
    Lyons' remarks emphasized the main theme of the event: Paying tribute to soldiers who had given their lives for their country.
    The service included a flyover by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 190th Air Refueling Unit of the Kansas Air National Guard, a balloon launch honoring Kansas soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a three-volley gun salute.
    Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Scott Dorsey, veteran service representative at Fort Dodge, read a list of veterans who had been buried in the cemetery since Memorial Day 2007.
    "As I read the roll, please remember the veterans in your life," he said. "And without their service and sacrifice, our lives would be far different."
    As the crowd watched, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 107 President Dorothy Beemer and Vice President Dolly Ideker placed wreaths in memory of the Tomb of the Unknowns and all fallen heroes.
    "This is a day dedicated to honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we may live in freedom," Beemer said. "Those who made that supreme sacrifice are glorious before us, and their deeds an inspiration."
    Beemer said she and her family were honoring her husband, Merl, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army who died in 2007. He  is buried at the Kansas Veterans' Cemetery.
    Lyons, who is now the dean of students at Dodge City Community College, asked the audience to refuse feelings of grief and sorrow if possible in favor of patriotism and pride.
    "As we remember the lives lost, we celebrate the lives lived, and we are forever thankful," he said. "Today, we celebrate the contributions of those who paid with their lives in the name of freedom and peace."

Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com