Tribute to the troops

Participants join in a group salute during Sunday morning’s Veterans Day ceremony at the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park in Fruita.

Some arrived on Harley-Davidsons. Some drove cars. Some wore jackets labeled with the branch of military in which they served, while some wore caps embroidered with “veteran.”

Point is, they all came to a ceremony designed to thank each and every one of their comrades for their service to protect the freedom and safety of all in this country.

Sunday was Veterans Day.

Grand Junction’s Kent Nordenberg, 72, served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1962, helping the military transition from airplanes with propellers to sleeker fighter jets.

It was an interesting time in the military, Nordenberg said, seated in the parking lot of the Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park in Fruita.

He was thankful that a day was set aside to honor U.S. veterans, and, like many men and women who served in the military, he was quick to note what an honor it was to serve.

More than 100 people, young and old, joined Nordenberg in the parking lot as flags were raised, songs sung and speeches delivered all with a gracious, humble tone toward veterans.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the entire ceremony was Mathias Mulumba’s heart-felt rendition of “God Bless America” and his brief speech about immigrating from Uganda because “strangers come here to experience the freedom and love you were a part of.”

“All my heart and all my praise are with you today,” Mulumba said.


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