FORT RILEY, Kan. " For the last 10 years, veterans Dale and Ruby Robinson have visited the Fort Riley Cemetery on Memorial Day.
They come to pay respect to all of the Soldiers who have lost their lives supporting their country, but they also come to remember their friend, Mildred Douglas, who is buried at the cemetery.
“Memorial Day means remembering all our fallen comrades and all of our Soldiers and friends,” Ruby said. “We are veterans, and we participate in all these exercises here at Fort Riley.”
Since last Memorial Day, the 1st Infantry Division lost 20 Soldiers in combat operations in operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.
Maj. Gen. William Mayville, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, addressed the crowd gathered at the Fort Riley Memorial Day Ceremony at the cemetery.
“We gather today to show them our respect … because they were brave … because they had no homecoming … because without their selfless acts of courage, liberties we enjoy today could have been lost,” Mayville said. “Armed with those memories, I take solace in the fact that what we enjoy today as American citizens, our Families, our communities, the fellowship we cherish with each other, could not have been without the sacrifice of those laid to rest here in this magnificent and somber place, and, indeed, cemeteries throughout the United States, from national cemeteries to hometown church grounds, as well as the 24 American cemeteries overseas.”
Mayville and Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Champagne, 1st Inf. Div. command sergeant major, laid a commemorative wreath in honor of Soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
A 21-gun salute was fired during Fort Riley’s ceremony and simultaneously at military installations across the country. Mayville made a recommendation to those in attendance while listening to the volleys.
“I invite you to reaffirm your commitment to live as great citizens of the United States, and that your deeds continue to give honor to the deeds of those who gave their lives for us,” Mayville said.
Members of the 1st Inf. Div. Band then played the national anthem as the flag was raised from half to full mast.
“We are a great nation, made great by those we honor today,” Mayville said. “I invite you to walk among the headstones after today’s ceremony and reflect upon what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America and what obligations we incur as citizens to our fellow countrymen and women, and, most importantly, for the main reason, the fallen heroes we honor on Memorial Day.”